Since opening last year, the community health center on the campus of Crystal Lake Elementary has served more than 1,300 local residents and students.
“We want everyone in the surrounding neighborhood and whose children attend the elementary school to be aware of our health care services,” said Ann Claussen, chief executive officer of Central Florida Health Care, which began operating the community health center in May 2019. “As a patient-centered medical home, we can help them with preventative and routine medical services. We will be providing some additional community outreach and marketing efforts in the next few months.”
Crystal Lake Elementary is Polk County’s first community partnership school. The school serves as a convenient location where students, their families and local residents can access a wide variety of education, health care and social service resources.
The concept is made possible by creating a long-term partnership between the school district, non-profits, health providers, and universities. Additional relationships are forged with civic groups, local businesses and public agencies.
The community health center’s hours of operation are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The plan is to open a fourth day in April with the goal of being open five days a week by the end of the summer.
Many patients have come from the local neighborhood, but parents are also discovering that the school offers medical treatment options for their children, too.
Forty-two second graders were recently able to get dental hygiene exams and sealants using funding from a federal program. The clinic has also offered free flu vaccinations to students whose parents would like their children to receive the service.
Ron Lund, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, will begin using a new mobile teaching tool — a cooking cart — to help students learn about healthy eating. Lund also assists the school’s garden club, which has more than 50 children growing fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs from their very own garden on campus.