School health clinic treats hundreds of students


From physicals for flag football to crucial gynecological exams, approximately 900 students on the John F. Kennedy campus have found a reason to use the school’s new health clinic since it opened two months ago. 

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital unveiled its largest school-based clinic on the first floor of JFK on March 30. Since then, a clinical manager, two medical providers, two psychologists, a health educator, a dentist, a hygienist and three additional employees have set-up shop in the 3,000-square foot space.

“A lot of work is done on reproductive health and having kids use protection and prevention more than anything,” said Andres Nieto, director of community health and outreach and NewYork-Presbyterian. 

“But general health — you know not feeling well and coming for a doctor’s visit and so forth — we do a lot. Even injuries that happen during the school day will come to the clinic.”

Nia Brown, 18, said she visited the  clinic for a physical that was required if she wanted to play flag football. But, she said, the sexual education component where clinic staff go into classrooms and invite students to come in and discuss birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive health has caught on with friends who have used the clinic to learn about STDs. The Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy senior said her teachers have begun referring students who are squinting in class to the clinic for eye exams.

“The only thing a school nurse can do is — God forbid there’s an emergency — they say, ‘Oh, we have to call an ambulance.’ or they give them a place to lie down until we call a parent. But, now, they can go down and get real treatment. If they have a headache they can be given an Aspirin. If their arm is hurting, a doctor can look at it,” said Bronx School of Law and Finance Principle Evan Schwartz.

Mr. Nieto said NewYork-Presbyterian had been eyeing opening a clinic at JFK for years. Not only did the hospital receive requests from principals of the various schools on campus, he said the student population is in need of preventative care.   

The clinic accepts all forms of insurance, treats uninsured students for free and synchronizes electronic medical records with students’ other medical providers.

“They’ve been really helpful. Now that the clinic is there, it’s like, ‘Oh, you got this, or you got that, head to the clinic. They’ll take care of you,” Ms. Brown said.