School district’s health center gets a shot in the arm


By Ian Perrotta

Right in the nick of time, the Hamtramck School-Based Health Center (HSBHC) has received a grant that will allow it to continue providing its current level of much-needed services.

Last week, it was announced that the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) has awarded the HSBHC a two-year, $50,000 grant to support its “Newcomer Program.” The program provides healthcare, immunizations, diagnostic tests and social services to students new to the area.

For the CFSEM, the HSBHC was a perfect entity to fund, as the mission of the CFSEM is to promote and facilitate community philanthropy in southeast Michigan. Moreover, the timing could not be better, as state officials have drastically reduced the clinic’s funding due to the economic downturn.

“This award comes at a very critical time and is a well-appreciated bridge to the gap in funding that was forecasted,” says Marilyn Sarkesian, the HSBHC’s Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. “Thanks to CFSEM, the small staff of the HSBHC — which includes a pediatrician, nurse practitioner, social worker and medical assistant — is now able to provide care under its ‘Newcomer Program’ and maintain its commitment to this needy community.”

The HSBHC has been committed to the community since June of 2000, when it was established in a partnership between Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Hamtramck Public Schools. Unlike most other school-based health centers, the HSBHC serves mostly immigrant children who have legal status but are ineligible for full health insurance.

“The health center’s driving force has always been to remove barriers to healthcare by providing free healthcare services to students attending Hamtramck Public Schools in an easily accessible setting, in an effort to improve their quality of life and optimize their academic potential,” says Sarkesian. “In this ethnically diverse community the students are among some of the most vulnerable children in southeast Michigan.”


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