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Trimble Schools to Build School-Based Health Center

Hannah Ticoras
February 7, 2014

Trimble Elementary School in Jacksonville, Ohio is gearing up for a new addition to the school building -- the Tomcat Care Center. A health center administered through Hopewell Health Centers, Inc. (HHC), the center will serve only students and staff initially, but will alleviate some of the medical stress on a township that is medically underserved with only one part-time doctor. Nearly everyone in the township has to drive to Athens, 15 miles away, for any health services.

The health center project at Trimble is an outcome of the 2012 Promise Neighborhood Trimble planning grant supported by the US Department of Education's program, Promise Neighborhood. This program was developed to increase opportunities for children in their home communities. The planning grant was coordinated by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, with Barry Oches serving as the Program Director.

Although the Promise Neighborhood grant was not granted to Trimble through the Department of Education, a $25,000.00 grant proposal was written to the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund to finance the medical center. The grant covers medical supplies and equipment, and also supports facilitation and evaluation services from the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Costs for renovating one classroom into two exam rooms, a bathroom, office space, storage and a waiting area will be covered by HHC. Staffing of the health center will include one nurse practitioner and one licensed practical nurse who will work only during school hours and during the school calendar. HHC is also covering the staffing costs through billing private insurance companies and Medicaid.

"The Tomcat Care Center will serve as an urgent care center for children and staff of the district," Diana Chalfant, the wellness coordinator for Trimble Local School District said, "it is my hope that services would eventually be available for the community at large."
 
Although Chalfant is retiring, she will still serve as a member of the executive committee and a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee of school personnel, community members and students has been created to help connect the health center, the school, and the community.

The name Tomcat Care Center was chosen by Isaiah Shover, a second grade student at Trimble. The Tomcat Bridgebuilders, a local group devoted to improving outcomes for children in the township, supported the "Name the Health Center" contest with a cash prize of $100.00 for the winning name.

To keep the community informed about the project and its effects on the school, the executive committee consisting of school administration, representatives from HHC at the Voinovich School, and Chalfant, created the Health Center fact sheet and Health Center FAQ which are displayed on the school district's  home page. The healthcare center's completion is projected for August 2014.

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