Marshall Miles Interviews Ray Castellani, Webutuck Central School District Superintendent of Schools: First School-Based Health Clinic in Mid-Hudson Valley


The Foundation for Community Health has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Webutuck
Central School District (WCSD) for construction costs for the first full-service, school-based health center
(SBHC) in our community. The aim is to establish the clinic for the 2020/21 school year and to make it
available to all students.
The SBHC will provide primary care health services, that include physical, mental and dental, to be
delivered in school with no out-of-pocket cost. All the services will be available in the school setting with
minimal missed educational time and without interrupting the schedules of parents or guardians. This is
important in situations where both parents/guardians work, have restricted flexibility in time away from work
and/or have transportation challenges.
Research has shown that health is a keystone for both short-term and long-term student success. Poor
attendance in kindergarten is associated with poor math and literacy skills in later grades and chronic
absence by the 6th grade is a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school. The U.S. law
governing K-12 public education policy, the Every Student Succeeds Act, states that “Students who have
access to regular physical and mental health services have fewer absences, are more social, less likely to
participate in risky behaviors and have improved focus and higher test scores.”
SBHCs effectively remove cultural, financial, privacy and transportation related barriers typically
experienced at traditional clinics while being linked to a myriad of favorable health-related outcomes such as
increased use of vaccinations and prevention services, reduced asthma morbidity, fewer emergency
department visits and hospital admissions, lower illegal substance use and alcohol consumption and reduced
violence.
The Foundation for Community Health is confident that this will be a successful partnership between the
Webutuck Central School District and Open Door Family Medical Centers, who will operate the health
center. Open Door is a Federally Qualified Health Center with an expertise in full-service, school-based
health centers. They have created multiple SBHCs in the lower Hudson Valley region. These health centers
have achieved significant reductions in chronic disease events that are responsible for repetitive student
absences and emergency room visits.
The Foundation for Community Health is pleased to fund this effort that aligns with and supports our work
to improve the health and well-being of the residents in our communities. For additional information,
contact Ray Castellani, WCSD Superintendent at raymond.castellani@webutuck.org or Lindsay Farrell,
Open Door President and CEO at lfarrell@odfmc.org

Marshall Miles Interviews Ray Castellani, Webutuck Central School District Superintendent of Schools: First School-Based Health Clinic in Mid-Hudson Valley
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