Your Gifts At Work: School Health Program

Celebrating 10 Years

Student getting height measured

In 2023, MetroHealth’s School Health Program commemorated 10 years since it launched as a single clinic at Cleveland Metropolitan School District Mound STEM Elementary School in the Slavic Village neighborhood. Since then, it has become a national model for school-based health, providing clinical services for more than 4,800 students enrolled at more than 25 schools throughout Cuyahoga County.

Over the course of its 10-year history, the program’s team of providers, nurses, program assistants, drivers and community health workers have earned essential community trust, and the results have been extraordinary. Students who participate in the program show improvement in academic performance and are 97% more likely to have completed a well-child exam. But none of these numbers illustrates the program's success more than a single moment that played out in the parking lot of John Adams High School a few years ago.

Tamara Foster, a graduate of John Adams High School, was visiting the school when she spotted the MetroHealth School Health Program mobile clinic; she saw a familiar face working there. She went straight to Family Nurse Practitioner John Yousef, APRN-CNP, and opened her arms wide for a hug.

"He helped me with a very difficult time of my life," said Tamara. If the mobile clinic had not been at her high school, Tamara said, she would not have been seen by a provider during that time, and the presence of the clinic made all the difference.

"It was a hard, hard time, and he was the main person who was there for me and was that shoulder to lean on if I needed someone to talk to,” she said.

“It helped a lot having people in your corner who believe in you."

Katie Davis Bellamy, MSN, RN, PHNA-BC, Executive Director of Community and Corporate Health, said members of the School Health Program team work hard to earn their place in the school communities they serve.

"You have to build the relationships," she said. "It doesn't mean you just build a clinic, and then everyone is going to show up. They need to trust you."

Thanks to sustained philanthropic support over the last 10 years, the School Health Program has earned a national reputation as an innovator for initiatives that push beyond the traditional model of school-based care to address the youth mental health crisis.

In 2022, the School Health Program received the prestigious Gage Award from America's Essential Hospitals. The national honor was validation for all that the program does to improve the health and lives of Greater Cleveland's children. But, for the team, the most gratifying reward comes with the work itself.

"Caring for students and their families is beyond satisfying," said Julie Cobb, RN, who manages the program. "Their acceptance of us, willingness to entrust their children to us and gratefulness for our services is an honor and a privilege that we do not take lightly."

The MetroHealth Foundation is grateful for the ongoing support that makes the School Health Program possible.

This year, The MetroHealth Foundation aims to raise $150,000 to continue the School Health Program, an essential service that builds community trust, health and access. If you are interested in supporting the School Health Program, contact Lynn Iams at [email protected] or (440) 592-1398.

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