Wellstar opens student clinic at Callaway Elementary

Published 2:19 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2022

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It’s not your typical nurse’s office.

On Tuesday, members of Troup County witnessed the official opening of the renovated Wellstar Pediatric Clinic at Callaway Elementary School, an onsite health center to address students’ health needs.

Operated by Wellstar Pediatrics, the clinic is a pilot program and could lead to more elementary student clinics. It could also possibly expand to area elementary and high schools.

“We would love to have one in each zone,” said Mandy Hill, executive director of Troup County Connection Authority.

The new clinic is two former mobile classrooms renovated to include new hardwood flooring, signage, lighting, countertops and lobby furniture, all of which serve to create a more comfortable environment for patients.

An unused portable trailer was renovated by the Troup County School System to create the clinic. There are two examination rooms, a lab, office space for the certified nurse practitioner and staff, a registration area and waiting area for students.

“Some of these kids, because they live in such a rural area, when they get called home sick, parents have a hard time getting here,” said Office Manager of Wellstar Pediatrics Stacy Haynes. “Depending on what time they get here, they may not be able to get that child to a doctor and, subsequently get them a prescription.”

Through the clinic, parents can sign consent forms allowing the child to be seen and treated until they can arrive to pick the child up.

The clinic was initiated through a Planning Grant from Emory School of Medicine-Partners for Equity and Health for Children and Adolescents and was managed by Troup Family Connection and United Way of West Georgia. Bringing the clinic to fruition was a five-year project. The Wellstar Pediatric Clinic is funded jointly by Wellstar, the Troup County School System and Callaway Foundation.

The SBHC is a partnership with Wellstar and the Troup County School System, as well as other community organizations including Troup Family Connection Authority, United Way of West Georgia, Callaway Foundation and Emory School of Medicine-Partners for Equity and Health for Children and Adolescents.

The SBHC will be part of Wellstar Pediatrics and staffed by a Wellstar advanced pediatric nurse practitioner. The school nurse at Callaway Elementary can assist if needed. Services offered at the clinic includes: General illness/injury treatment, Covid-19 testing, flu testing, strep throat testing, urinary tract infection testing, mono testing and glucose check.

The clinic has a waiting room, two patient rooms, a lab and an office.

Dr. Brian Shumate, Superintendent of the Troup County School System, said he is thankful for the community support, leadership, and vision for the clinic.

“What I’ve found since I’ve been here for three years is people come out. When there’s a good initiative, I’ve never heard one person say no. They are ready to jump in and help. It takes a village to really make this thing happen and make it thrive,” Shumate said.

Dr. Avril Beckford, Chief Pediatric Officer at Wellstar Health System also spoke on why partnerships are so beneficial.

“We’re only one part of the team. We partner with educators, with board members, with the community because everyone has to put their hands together and their arms around to make the difference in the life of a single child,” Beckford said.

Tripp Penn, President of the Callaway Foundation said the clinic aligns with the foundation’s strategic plan.

“All Troup County Children will have a quality opportunity for physical, social, emotional and academic development so they graduate from high school and prepare for a job and or further their education,” Penn said.  “It’s hard for a child to achieve their academic goals if they are worried about an ear infection or a strep throat or the number of health conditions kids deal with. And this clinic directly addresses those components of the physical and emotional development of children.”