When Compton’s Dominguez High School celebrated the opening of a new campus wellness center last month, it was a timeless moment.
The marching band blared and thundered. Drill teams members pranced and whirled, just as they’ve been dancing and high-kicking on high school campuses for generations.
But the scene in the wellness center itself offered a glimpse of what the future could be for school medical services in California.
There was a student in for routine blood work. In the next cubicle, a mother had brought her young son, who had the flu. And neighborhood resident Jonetta Stewart, 76, had come seeking relief from frequent vertigo and headaches.
Physician’s assistant Rachel Damicali checked Stewart’s blood pressure. It was very high.
“My last patient was a 4-year-old kid, and now I’m seeing Jonetta for her blood pressure management,” she said. “So, we see a whole range: from chronic disease to urgent care visits to just physical exams.”
Just in time for the implementation of President Obama’s health care overhaul coming Jan. 1, a handful of California schools are starting to open campus-based wellness centers like the one at Dominguez, offering free and low-cost services not just to students, but to entire neighborhoods, to people of any age. Continue reading