By Anthony Rivera
The school recently opened a new health center in order to cater to the students’ needs, and provide free services they might have to pay for elsewhere. Unfortunately, many members of the student population have yet to hear abougt the new clinic, and if they have they are not fully aware of the types of services they are able to receive there. This interview done with Jessica Traenkner, MCSM’s school based physician’s assistant, is meant to help raise awareness around this new facility, and ultimately allow our students to receive the health services they need, all while having the comfort of being in their own high school.
Q: Why was the new clinic created?
TRAENKNER: The new clinic was made so that we can better serve the students of this school and have more updated exam rooms and facilities. So that we could better provide the services that we want to, and essentially have a better space to do that.
Q: How is this different from the previous clinic?
TRAENKNER: It’s different because it is a larger space, so like I said it can accommodate more patients. In addition it also has updated facilities, tools, and other things needed to aid the students. It also gives us the ability to grow in the future if we want to include any additional services.
Q: How have the students reacted to the newer facilities?
TRAENKNER: They’re actually really impressed. They like how updated it is, how clean it is, and they also like that unlike the old office, it looks more like a medical center. So, even though we are providing the same services, I think they feel like they’re getting better services here.
Q: Do you see more students now than in previous years now that there are better facilities?
TRAENKNER: The interesting thing is that even though we have these newer facilities, our numbers are down a little bit, and we think it’s because of the change of location. Since we are in the basement now, we’re not as visible as we were up on the first floor. So we’re trying to help people learn where we are so they are still able to get these services.
Q: Have you had any ideas as to how we can help students become more aware of the clinic?
TRAENKNER: Yes, actually we’ve tried a lot of things. We’ve put up signs and posters around the school, made announcements in the mornings, and we’ve even spoken to some of the teachers to make announcements to the students. Now we’re hoping that this article will help spread the word as well.
Q: How can a student get a checkup?
TRAENKNER: All the students have to do is come down, talk with Leslie to set up an appointment, and the only requirement we have is that the student must have a consent form signed by their parents.
Q: What exactly do you offer here at the new clinic?
TRAENKNER: In terms of medical services we provide primary care, which means I can do physicals, form completions, blood work, sick visits and things of that sort. We provide reproductive care, so we can give birth control and STI and HIV testing. We also have a social work component so we can provide counseling for those who may need it, and we have the health educator who can take a longer time with our patients and educate them about things regarding contraceptives, sex health, general health, and smoking cessation. Those are the main things we have here, but we’re also apart of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center so the students also have access to the free services there which include dental care, optometry services, nutritional services, and the teen fit program which is a group exercise program for out-patients.