Community Leaders and School Officials Commend School-Based Health Centers at High School of Fashion Industries Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

New York, NY (October 22nd, 2015) – The Institute for Family Health and the High School of Fashion Industries co-hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Falcon Health Center, a new school-based health center serving Fashion’s 1,800 students. The health center is the result of the combined efforts of the high school, led by Principal Daryl Blank; the New York City Departments of Education and Health; the New York City School Construction Authority; the New York State Department of Health; and the Institute for Family Health, a not-for-profit community health center which provides medical care, mental health and soon, dental care at the site. About 75 city and school officials, parents, students and health center staff attended the ceremonial ribbon-cutting.

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NYS Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Dr. Neil Calman, Dr. George Askew, Principal Daryl Blank, and the Institute for Family Health’s Director of School Health, Caitlin Hanson

Dr. Neil Calman, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health, described the importance of unfettered access to health care for teens, who can visit the center and receive confidential services regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay for care. “There should be one of these in every school,” said Dr. Calman.  “To see everybody, as we do, there needs to be funding. Parents, teachers, officials…all of us have to work together to advocate for school health services.”

The Falcon Health Center was a part of Chancellor Walcott’s 2013 SBHC Initiative to fund the building of 20 new SBHCs in NYC. It is one of 142 SBHCs serving over 339 schools in the five boroughs of NYC. New York State DOH oversees the SBHC program and provides grant funding to the provider organizations to cover some of their expenses. For the Institute and other school-based health center operators, the grant is typically not enough to fully fund the cost of providing confidential, comprehensive services to students.

New York State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, a long-time champion of school health centers, attended the event and praised the school health program, saying “School health centers are one of the finest things in our health care system.” He echoed the call for additional funding, saying, “If you’re going to not turn anyone away, there really need to be sources of funding. Every school in New York State ought to have a school health center.”

Dr. George Askew, the New York City Department of Health’s Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Family & Child Health, commented on the quality of the center’s services. “Looking at this sophisticated, state-of-the-art center, I know I would come here for health care. I know I would send my family here.”

The Falcon Health Center is one of three school-based health centers operated by the Institute for Family Health, serving nine schools. Together, the sites provide over 10,000 health care visits to children and teens annually. Services include medical care (physicals, vaccines, care for chronic issues like asthma/diabetes, reproductive health care, and care for illnesses and injuries in school); mental health services (both for crises and ongoing needs); health education for individual students and in the classroom; and insurance enrollment for students and their families. The school based health centers act as the primary care provider for students who do not have one, or coordinate with students’ usual source of primary care. The centers also connect students’ families to neighborhood health centers where they can receive care, regardless of ability to pay.