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Pilot program sends nurse practitioner to health clinics at schools in Akron and Warren

Posted at 1:31 PM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 17:50:15-04

AKRON, Ohio — Two Northeast Ohio school districts, one in Akron and another in Warren, are taking part in a pilot program conducted by Akron Children’s Hospital to provide school-based health clinics to students.

Students in nine school buildings in the Kenmore/Garfield cluster of Akron Public Schools (K-12) and four school buildings in the Warren City Schools District (Pre-K-8) can have their parents opt into the program that will allow them to receive in-person well-child exams and evaluation for illness through video technology.

“We know that as many as 25% of students in Akron Public Schools – and we assume the number is similar in Warren – do not have a primary care provider so this program is targeted to them,” said Michele Wilmoth, director of School Health Services at Akron Children Hospital. “We’re trying to bridge that gap and get those kids connected with preventative health care.”

Services of the School-Based Health Centers, an extension of Akron Children’s School Health Services created 13 years ago that covers 30 districts, will include hearing and vision tests, screening for depression, sports physicals and guidance topics on drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

A nurse practitioner, Carmilla Giallourakis, will rotate through 13 schools, with the goal of doing four well-child exams per day.

For sick calls, Giallourakis will do in-person visits or communicate with students through telehealth.

For example, if a child reports an earache, his parents will be called to consent for a telehealth exam. A nursing aid will use a handheld device, similar to a smartphone, to position in his ear. The nurse practitioner in another building will use a laptop to see the inner ear and talk to the child about his symptoms.

"If the exam confirms an ear infection, a prescription can be called into the parent's pharmacy of choice and the child can begin treatment that day," Giallourakis said. "This should cut down on missed school days and missed worked days for their parents for minor illnesses."