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Getting rid of the health care barrier to learning in Pine Hills

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The Evans Wellness Cottage held its grand opening ceremony last weekend. (Photo Credit: Evans Wellness Cottage)

Evans High School in Pine Hills cut the ribbon Saturday on the Evans Wellness Cottage.

The on- campus community health clinic is run in partnership with a group of non-profits, and is open to students, families and community members as well.

On the outside, the cottage looks like a portable classroom. But inside students have access to a family doctor, a dentist, and even behavioral health services.

The idea is to keep students from worrying about health issues so they can focus on learning.

Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins said the Wellness Center is the first of its kind in Florida.

“And so while we may have fragile families and fragile students, if we bundle around them, if we proved the wraparound services, if we keep them from worrying about adult issues that no child should have to worry about, we know they won’t break. They’ll be strong.”

The $500,000 clinic was built using grants and state funds. Officials hope to replicate the clinic in other areas across the state.

“It is the first in Florida of its kind, and we believe we have a national model that needs to be replicated in communities that can use their public schools as a hub, not just for our students but for their families and the entire community,” Jenkins said.

The clinic costs about $800,000 per year to operate, paid for by reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.

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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

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