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School health clinics in Michigan to get a boost

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Primary Care Doctor Lisa Lowery shows off the health clinic’s laboratory, patient rooms, and the dental clinic (behind her).

Health clinics based inside 3 Grand Rapids high schools will get $2.6 million over the next five years. Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids Schools, and the Michigan Department of Community Health pay for the program. The state is expected to announce grants for other school clinic programs soon.

Lisa Lowery is a primary care doctor at Spectrum Health. She shows off the health clinic’s laboratory, patient rooms, and the dental clinic. A high school senior getting his teeth cleaned gives us a thumbs up.

“It’s just not ‘oh here’s an ice pack’ cause you hurt your knee.”

Lowery spends one day a week seeing students at the health clinic inside Creston High School.

Lowery says appointments at school are more convenient for parents and students.

“It's simple - say a young lady has cramps. She didn’t take medicine that morning. She can come here, doesn’t have to miss school. Or they have a cold; mom or dad doesn’t have to make an appointment with the doctor. They may miss – versus a half day or a whole day – they miss an hour.”

Lowery says they do sports physicals, treat injuries, acne, asthma and do testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

“Kids know it’s a safe place you know and they can come here. We’ve been able to diagnose depression and some post-traumatic stress disorder and things like that. And kind of feed, you know get them set with resources in the community.”

Lowery says the clinics give students better access to medical care. And because staff can find them every day, Lowery says there’s better follow-through for treatment.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.