LETTER: Proposed student-based health center would be excellent addition to school district

I attended the April 28 Port Angeles School Board meeting and was very encouraged by a presentation given by Angie Gooding, Marlene Bradow and Dr. Katrina Weller in support of instituting a school-based health clinic (SBHC) in our school district [“Health Center Sought For PA High School,” PDN, May 2].

Their presentation was informational, professional and heartfelt.

This is an inexpensive, evidence-based proposal that would improve students’ access to professional medical advice and treatment, enabling them to live healthier lives and maintain focus on their education.

SBHCs have been shown to reduce truancy (sick children have a harder time attending classes, especially if they have untreated chronic illnesses) and increase both GPAs and graduation rates.

Many students in our area have inadequate access to health care, and an SBHC could fill gaps in coverage and provide access to those who have none.

It was evident that many hours of work had gone into this proposal, as both a location and a medical partner had been found.

The medical partner, the North Olympic Healthcare Network, is a nonprofit organization that is uniquely suited, both in mission and in expertise, to provide professional medical care, charting, continuity of care and other various complex needs that may arise.

As a parent and citizen who cares about the health of all the children in the school district, I want my elected officials to support science-based programs and interventions.

I strongly encourage the school board to support and implement the proposed SBHC and allocate funding for startup costs and overhead.

Mike French,

Port Angeles