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Nursing Program Gets Grant To Set Up School-Based Clinic

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In keeping with the Clinton Administration's emphasis on school-based health care, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department has awarded a $1 million grant to the St. Xavier University School of Nursing to establish a primary-care health center at an elementary school in one of the poorest sections of Chicago.

When it opens in March, the Family Nursing Center at the William E. Gladstone Elementary School will be the first of two school-based nurse-training centers set up with funding from federal grants announced last month.

The other program, at the University of California at Los Angeles, also will establish a training center for nurses at a school-based clinic.

Staffed by a rotation of graduate students and faculty members from the nursing school, the Chicago center is intended both to be a training site for nurses to learn primary-care delivery techniques in noninstitutional settings, and to provide needed health services to Gladstone students, their families, and the local community.

The center's directors are currently convening an advisory board of teachers, residents, nurses, and students to determine which services the center will offer.

The center probably will provide health education, exercise classes, immunizations, physicals for students, prenatal care for parents, and possibly violence-prevention classes, according to Jan Borman, the center's project director.

All medical procedures will require parental notification, Ms. Borman noted.

Expanding Access to Care

Drawn from special-project funds of the U.S. Public Health Service, the five-year grant will cover nurses' salaries, computers, medical supplies, and all general-operating costs.

The Chicago public school system plans to spend an estimated $25,000 to convert an old book room into a modern health center.

The center will be a boon to the school's 500 K-8 students and community residents, who have limited access to health care, said Principal Gary M. Moriello.

"We are in a 100 percent poverty level here,'' Mr. Moriello said. "People can't just call their doctor and pay 25 bucks. They have to wait for medical care.''

Local residents might be more willing to come to a school than to a medical clinic or hospital, Mr. Moriello suggested.

Ms. Borman, an assistant professor at the school of nursing, said the award will take the profession back to its roots in community-based practice.

"We hope to return to the vision of nursing that existed in the turn of the century,'' she said.

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