Some schools through DeKalb County will soon have Emory health centers as a permanent part of the campus.

The DeKalb County School District (DCSD) and Emory University will collaborate on the development of six new school-based health centers that will be located in DeKalb County schools.

The school-based health centers will serve to improve the overall health and wellbeing of children and adolescents through comprehensive health services that support the student, their families and the school system, stated officials.

“DeKalb County School District is excited about the partnership opportunity with Emory in establishing the six new school-based health centers. We will begin the planning work to identify the six sites in preparation for the opening of the first two beginning the 2020-2021 school year,” said DCSD Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson. “We know that healthy students are more likely to come to school on a daily basis, remain engaged and excel academically. We look forward to the opportunity to form meaningful and impactful partnerships with other agencies to serve our children in need.”

The school-based health centers will be directed by Veda Johnson, MD, professor in the department of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine.

“School-based health centers are a holistic approach to caring for underserved children and adolescents, improving access to primary health care, and in turn improving overall health outcomes and school attendance and performance,” said Johnson. “The structure of these health centers will include comprehensive primary care with an integrated behavioral health component. This is critical to providing care for the ‘whole child’ and addressing those issues that impact a child’s learning and overall academic achievement.”

Emory will use tax revenues collected by DeKalb to establish six school-based health centers in DeKalb Schools over a five-year span. The school-based health centers will be established at six schools and will be implemented at years one, three and five of the agreement, at a rate of two per year.

The first year will be 2020-2021. The tax revenue used to establish these centers is estimated at $6.75 million, or $1.35 million per year.

After the five-year agreement, DeKalb County Schools and Emory aim to make these school-based health centers self-sustaining within the communities they serve.

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