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COMMUNITY NEWS: SOUTHEAST

SOUTH GATE : Clinic Considered at Middle School

January 09, 1994|MARY HELEN BERG

Los Angeles Unified School District officials are considering a proposal that would place a private health clinic on the South Gate Middle School campus to serve students and their families.

The proposal, a collaborative effort of St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood and Cal State Dominguez Hills, is similar to a project under way in Lynwood and is part of the center's Targeting Healthy Communities project, said Gerald Kozai, St. Francis' vice president of professional services, who oversees the project.

A school-based clinic would give South Gate residents access to affordable, preventive health care, Kozai said. Representatives from St. Francis and Cal State are conducting a survey of more than 600 families in South Gate to determine the health needs of the community.

The campus clinic would be staffed by a full-time nurse practitioner and part-time personnel to handle obstetric, pediatric and other medical care. In addition to basic family health services, the clinic would offer some counseling and social services and provide training and placement for careers in health care, Kozai said.

"It's a very ambitious but a very realistic model we'd like to deliver," he said.

The clinic proposal must be considered by district staff and is expected to go before the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education in about two months, said Michael Godfrey, coordinator of the district's school-based health clinic program. If approved, a clinic could be operational next year.

The board first approved campus clinics in 1985. However, the clinics on the campuses of Jordan, Los Angeles and San Fernando high schools provide health care to enrolled students only. Family members are not covered, Godfrey said. Each clinic has an annual budget of about $325,000.

It is possible that the district would donate in-kind services such as space and utilities to the proposed South Gate clinic, but how the facility would be funded is unclear, officials said.

The initial reaction to the proposal is positive, said school board member Vickie Castro, who represents the area.

"Anytime we can bring more services onto the campus and handle social health needs is a positive step," Castro said. "Health needs are a priority in any highly populated area. The density of that area indicates that (a clinic) is needed."

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