School-based health centers keeping kids healthy

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The new Camarena Health Center on the Madera South High School campus is seen as a game-changer in this community.

Principal Oracio Rodriguez says healthcare for kids and teachers is now just a short walk away.

"We were living the struggle of what do we do with students who need medical services and weren't getting them. We live in a very medically underserved area and Camarena's filling that void."

CEO Paulo Soares says that one of Camarena's goals, in this case, is to remove obstacles to getting health care.

"Pulling kids out of school and parents have to leave work to go pick up their child at school and then take them to an appointment can be a tremendous barrier."

Not only can you see a doctor, but a full-time dentist is also available. Staffers expect to see a lot of patients from the neighborhood and the school as well. Some won't have to take long trips anymore.

"A lot of our employees, in particular, have chosen to have their healthcare be provided in Fresno and this is now really quality opportunity right here in town," says Superintendent Todd Lile.

The center's location will allow students to get back to class much sooner.

The clinic will be extremely convenient for the 3,000 students at Madera South. The school nurse has moved into the new facility.
Cathy Coleman-Johnson has seen it all in her 8 years as school nurse.

"Anything from nose bleeds, stomach aches, headaches to people fainting."

Now she can't believe she's surrounded by an entire staff which can take care of medical, dental and even mental health services.

"I dreamed. I never thought I would see it but I did dream about it."
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