New on-campus health clinic unique to area

New on-campus health clinic unique to area

Marion School District partners with East Arkansas Family Heath to serve students, teachers in the new

school year

news@theeveningtimes.com

The Marion School District is taking a direct approach to meeting the health care needs of its students and staff with an oncampus health care center.

Forming a partnership with East Arkansas Family Health Centers, the district has opened a clinic right on the quad in the old junior high school office with the goal of keeping kids in the classroom and teachers on the job.

At a recent ribbon cutting for the facility, Superintendent Dr. Glen Fenter said the clinic would improve student health, increase attendance, and attract more students to the school district. The center will officially be open for business when school starts back in August.

“This makes too much sense not to do,” said Fenter. “Our students, faculty and staff are going to benefit from this greatly from this health center. We worked very hard to come up with the best provider of these services.”

Fenter said the district “very quickly” settled on Dr. Susan Ward-Jones and East Arkansas Family Health Centers. The new school-based health center is unique to the area.

“You have to go a long way from this side of Little Rock, to Jonesboro, and the Missouri line south to Lousianna before you find another one of these in Arkansas,” said Fenter. “We are very proud of that.”

“We are proud to be a part of this new endeavor,” said Jones. “We’ll provide primary medical care to the students and staff of the Marion School District. We‘ll perform sports physicals, immunizations, acute care visits and all those things help keep kids in school. When kids feel sick they can come here to be taken care of. We aren’t trying to take away anything from any other providers in town. We actually here to work together in collaboration reduce health disparities and keep kids in school. This is your health care center, we are here to help it come to fruition. Our board and staff are elated to be a part.”

Fenter expressed gratitude toward the school board, his trustees for the commitment to grow district enrollment.

“This is going to be a huge piece of our model to grow services for our students and in turn grow our student population, and in turn grow our community,” said Fenter. “ We appreciate your vision ion allowing us to do this.”

The superintendent dedicated the new health center to the late Jana Blackford. He read her long ago letter of application to be a nurse for the Marion schools. Fenter noted Blackford’s perennial passion before inviting Erica Blackford to the podium.

“This means a lot to my family,” said Blackford. “My mom did not realize how special she was to our community, to the schoo,l and what she means to so many people. Losing her was so hard, but there is light in the darkness because of all of you. You’ve embraced us and engraced us. This moment we share will never be forgotten. Seeing her name of this means our community will always remember, thank you.”

By John Rech

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