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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with 26 area schools to expand Child and Adolescent Health Centers

New research is investigating the underlying causes behind high asthma rates in U.S. kids.
New research is investigating the underlying causes behind high asthma rates in U.S. kids.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced $2.4 million in planning grants will be split between 26 schools across Michigan to expand Child and Adolescent Health Centers across the state. Following successful completion of the planning process, these new sites will be awarded implementation funding join the 200 existing CAHCs serving students in Michigan.

The proposed sites will join Michigan’s network of 200 existing CAHCs that offer youth health facilities near schools.

Taggert Doll, the Unit Manager for Michigan’s Child and Adolescent Health Services, said mental health issues became apparent once kids returned to school full-time.

“Students that are accessing these centers are seeing less physical discomfort, they're reporting less emotional discomfort, higher self-esteem in the teenage year, that tend to be years that kids engage in risk taking behaviors, we're seeing a decrease in those risk-taking behaviors,” Doll said.

Once schools complete the six steps outlined in the planning grants, they will receive funds to complete plans.

According to Doll, these facilities could be up and running by the 2023 school year.

“They take a while to get up and running," Doll said. "But we definitely will have services next school year, maybe not right away at the beginning of the school year, but throughout the school year would start seeing services in some of these schools.”

For Shepherd School District Superintendent Terry Starr, the services will add to what the school district already supplies.

"We do provide like through the schools, like we do vision screening, we do hearing screening, and we bring in a dental bus for our elementary children as well," Starr said. "Beyond that, I would say what they can access is probably based on what their families are able to afford them, you know, through insurances and whatnot."

Once the facilities are completed, Doll said students won’t be turned away from services for having incorrect or missing insurance.

Alayna Nederhoed, the Shepherd School District's Health Nurse, completed the grant paperwork for the school district.

"This is the first school district that I've been a part of where we've had a health nurse so that in and of itself, having a health nurse is so incredible," Starr said. "It's just a huge blessing. And then when you have someone like that, it gives you another set of eyes and ears and attention to things like this. So she she's watching out for all of the things that can be done to promote better health for all of our kids."

According to Nederhoed, the school will use existing buildings to establish the health center and is looking at providing transportation to the facilities for students.

"We'll be able to send kiddos over because three of our five buildings are right here on our main campus," Nederhoed said. "So the majority of our students would have direct access here. And we're also talking about including some form of transportation from our outlying buildings into the clinic so that they can access care also."

According to a MDHHS press release, the funded sites include:

  • Benzie Leelanau District Health Department – Suttons Bay and Frankfort-Elberta Public Schools
  • Family Medical Center of Michigan Inc. – Springbrook Middle School
  • Sterling Area Health Center – (two school districts TBD)
  • Ottawa Area Intermediate School District – (school TBD)
  • Baldwin Family Health Care – Reed City and Evart Schools
  • Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties – Bay College Campus Health Center
  • Cass City Public Schools – (school TBD)
  • Community Mental Health for Central Michigan – Shepard School District
  • Mott Children’s Health Center – Mt. Morris Community and Education Center and Genesee School District
  • Sanilac County Health Department – Sandusky School District
  • Great Lakes Bay Health Centers – Bay City Central High School
  • MyMichigan Health Foundation – Alma and St. Louis Public Schools
  • District Health Department #4 – Hillman Community Schools
  • Concord Community School District
  • Otsego Public Schools
  • Hamilton Community Health Network – School-linked in Genesee County
  • Eaton Regional Educational Service Agency – Grand Ledge High School
  • Springport Public Schools
  • Catherine’s Health Center – Kentwood Public Schools
  • Ingham County Health Department – East Lansing Public Schools
  • Ascension Southeast Michigan Community Health – Lamphere Public Schools

Sean Chase is from Newaygo, Michigan. He is a senior at Central Michigan University pursuing a journalism degree.