Westchester/Rockland, NY] --The Open Door Family Medical Center’s School-Based Health Center Program will become known as the Nita M. Lowey Center for Health in Schools.

The program provides primary health care services for students in elementary, middle and high schools in Port Chester and Ossining. Services are available regardless of a family’s ability to pay and there are no out-of-pocket costs.

“The name change pays tribute to our long-standing partnership with Congresswoman Lowey, who has been a major supporter of the Open Door since the program’s beginning,” said Lindsay Farrell, President and CEO of Open Door. “She has been instrumental in securing the funding for the launch and growth of our School-Based Health Center program over many years.”

Nita Lowey represented parts of Westchester, Rockland, the Bronx and Queens in Congress from 1989 until her retirement in January, and most recently served as Chair of the House’s Appropriations Committee. Prior to this, she was Assistant Secretary of State in New York State for 13 years.

“I cannot believe that it has been more than 20 years since securing federal funding for the School-Based Health Center at Thomas Edison elementary school,” said Rep. Lowey. Congressman Steny H. Hoyer and Lowey had the idea to bring community health centers into local schools — creating full-service community schools that would ensure every student had access to the healthcare they need to succeed. “These children will lead our community for years to come and inspire me every day.”

Open Door’s Care Team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, medical assistants and health educators work collaboratively with school nurses to provide comprehensive medical services to students where they are enrolled. Services include physical exams, laboratory tests, nutritional counseling, immunizations, sick care, management of chronic illnesses like asthma and diabetes, mental health screenings, dental screenings and sports physicals.

School-Based Health Centers emerged in the 1970s in recognition of the increasing number of children and adolescents who lacked access to health care but also needed care that was age sensitive, confidential, safe and geographically accessible. Studies have shown that SBHCs reduce inappropriate use of emergency rooms and increase appropriate use of medical and mental health services. In addition, they have been shown to positively impact the mental health of students and reduce hospitalization rates.

SBHC’s eliminate waiting time at doctor’s offices and transportation to and from appointments for children and their parents. They reduce absenteeism since students do not have to leave school to receive care. They support high need students by providing personalized medical care and counseling. Staff knows the students and the school’s culture and so can address health and wellness issues from an insider’s perspective. They assist with assessments and treatments of some learning-related disorders.

Open Door Family Medical Center’s mission has remained consistent since 1972: to provide high-quality health care that’s affordable, accessible and efficient.

Today, Open Door cares for more than 1,000 adults and children every day in Westchester, Putnam and Ulster counties – with more than 300,000 patient visits and over 400 babies delivered annually – regardless of one’s ability to pay. In addition to medical, dental, pediatric, women’s, podiatry and behavioral health care offered in its Ossining, Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow, Mount Kisco, Brewster, Mamaroneck sites; seven School-Based Health Centers in the Ossining and Port Chester school districts; a mobile dental; and dental practice in Saugerties, Open Door promotes wellness, good nutrition, stress reduction and physical activity to help families stay healthy. Open Door was recognized as the number one New York State Health Disparity Reducer and a leading Access Enhancer by the Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA).

In addition to the press release and fact sheet, here is a short video that takes a look at the history of the School Based Health Center Program, the work of Congresswoman Lowey and the reasons behind Open Door's decision to change the name of the program to the Nita M. Lowey Center for Health in Schools:

Submitted by Somers, NY

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