December 20, 2012

Federal grant to enlarge Portland High health clinic

The center, which provides a variety of services and is used by hundreds of students, will triple in size.

By Noel K. Gallagher ngallagher@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — An undersized health clinic at Portland High School will be renovated with funding from a $225,000 federal grant, city officials said Thursday.

The grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration is among more than $80 million in grants given to nearly 200 school-based health care programs nationwide. It was the only one awarded in Maine.

Portland High's health center will be expanded from 500 to 1,500 square feet, according to a news release from the city. The space now houses a waiting room, a doctor's office, a bathroom and two exam rooms.

Last year, about half of Portland High's 931 students were enrolled to receive care at the health center, which operates in addition to the school nurse's office. Of those enrolled, 250 went to the center at least once, said Lori Gramlich, the family health program manager for Portland's health centers.

Among its services are preventive health care, mental health and substance abuse services, reproductive health care and oral health care.

"This investment means that for hundreds of Portland teens, they will have equal access to comprehensive health care regardless of their access to health insurance or their family's ability to pay," Mayor Michael Brennan said in a prepared statement.

The Public Health Division of the city's Department of Health and Human Services operates five school-based health centers, at Portland, Deering and Casco Bay high schools, King Middle School and the East End Community School. Most of the funding comes from the Fund for a Healthy Maine.

The grants announced this week are the third and last round of grants for school-based health care programs. A total of $200 million was disbursed through the three rounds of funding.

Portland received an award earlier to renovate the health center at King Middle School and pay for mobile medical equipment used at all of the school health centers.

Staff Writer Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

ngallagher@pressherald.com

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