New partnership combines school and healthcare with free community clinic

New partnership combines school and healthcare with free community clinic
Beach High School debuts their Community Education and Health Screening Clinic (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The ribbon has been cut on the Community Education and Health Screening Clinic at Beach High School.

It’s a partnership between Saint Joseph’s/Candler Health System and Savannah Chatham County Public School System. It will provide a free health clinic to the community while also giving students hands-on experience.

“If you sit down and you read something and you say you know someone should really do something about that well actually if you looked in the mirror that someone is you,” explained Paul Hinchey, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s/Candler.

Hinchey says it all started and ended at a lunch with Superintendent Levett. Together they wanted to create a private and public partnership that was mutually beneficial. The Community Education and Health Screening Clinic is their answer. Junior and senior students will take the year long program that will allow them the opportunity to job shadow several positions within a hospital setting at St. Joseph’s/ Candler but also work at the clinic.

At the clinic students will take blood, do health screenings, provide referrals and council patients. It’s real life training alongside healthcare professionals. SCCPSS leaders say this partnership is what education is all about.

“It’s very rare we actually get to see our students in action with what they’ve learned and so we actually as educators, teachers and administrators get to see our students working with the community members with their patients,” said Sonji Leach, principal of Beach High School. “And the biggest piece about it is our students will have the opportunity to provide healthcare information to the community members, follow up as to what they should do once they find out whatever their diagnosis is so they will get an opportunity to provide them with a plan to help them get better and we’re excited about that.”

The clinic is free to the public and if additional care is needed patients will be sent to other free St. Joseph’s/Candler facilities. Bringing the clinic to the Beach High School community was strategic for leaders at St. Joseph’s/Candler and will help them provide better access to care for more in our community.

“If it’s here and it’s convenient and it’s in a HUB like Beach High School, which is, everybody knows where it is you’ll use it,” said Paul Hinchey. “So, there’s a very strong best practice, health/wellness component for an under-served population.”

While the new partnership debuted their facility Thursday to the public, Beach High School’s clinic will open to patients on March 2.

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