New Health Center Offers Comprehensive Care

West Haven High School’s new School-Based Health Center is so much more than a regular nurse’s office. At this center, students can receive diagnoses, prescriptions, immunizations, and get physicals, among many other services.

A nurse practitioner is available to treat students for illnesses like strep throat, pink eye, sexually transmitted infections, rashes, and even the beginning stages of chronic illnesses, like diabetes.

“Pretty much when you think of anything you might go to a walk-in clinic for,” Principal Dana Paredes said.

There is also a social worker, Meredith Lal, available all week who provides mental-health care and can help with students’ medication management. The biggest difference between this health center and a walk-in clinic is that care is free of charge for students with no insurance and has no co-pays for students with insurance. The funding comes through a government grant.

The health center is inside the school, near the entrance to the gymnasium. Students will not be marked absent for going to appointments while school is in session. Sick visits can be made and appointments can be set in advance.

Virginie Le Dru Cohen, the nurse practitioner, is available to treat students every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Medical assistant Brittney Sampson will be at the center from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every school day.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for education and to provide care to patients who may not have access to otherwise,” Ms. Le Dru Cohen said.

All parents have to do to give their child access to this healthcare is sign a form in the Parent Portal.

Mrs. Paredes said her inspiration to start the clinic is that she wants free healthcare to be available for students who don’t have insurance and others who have high co-pays. She said she knows what it is like to grow up without insurance, only going to the doctor if she was really sick. She is looking forward to seeing the health center in use after years of planning.

“I’m excited to see it all come together.” Mrs. Paredes said.