Meijer has donated $2 million to Cleveland Clinic Children’s school-based healthcare program which provides medical care to children while they are at school. The support from Meijer will be used to purchase a mobile unit that will visit school districts in Northeast Ohio regularly throughout the school year to provide any needed healthcare. This will be Cleveland Clinic Children’s second unit and will help expand services into the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
Children in Cleveland public schools are disproportionately affected by poverty, and there is great need for access to primary care. The mobile unit, which acts as a full-service pediatric office, provides health and wellness services to students from kindergarten through 12th grade including: complete physical examinations, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illness; immunizations; first aid and more. Children have access to services regardless of their health insurance status.
“We know education is a social determinant of health and can have a lifelong impact on a person’s health and wellbeing,” said Roopa Thakur, M.D., FAAP, pediatrician and medical director of Cleveland Clinic Children’s school-based healthcare program. “Missing school due to health concerns, or not accessing care because you don’t want to miss school, can disrupt a child’s long-term health and development. Our program aims to help combat this by offering pediatric healthcare services while also ensuring kids stay in school and parents don’t miss work for an office visit.”
In the 2019-2020 school year, the school-based health program served 1,894 unique patients. This year, the program hopes to expand patient enrollment in its partner districts:
- Cleveland Metropolitan School District
- East Cleveland
- Step Forward Greater Cleveland
- Maple Heights
- Warrensville Heights
As the COVID-19 pandemic worsened, and students moved to virtual learning, there was an increased need for access to consistent quality healthcare for children. Even when school is conducted virtually, the unit is on-site ensuring the ability to provide seamless and consistent care. “This generous donation will help us serve our current patients and broaden our reach to others in need. The impact of this support is really immeasurable,” added Dr. Thakur.
To meet the need for remote care during the pandemic, the school-based healthcare program expanded its telemedicine services to address new concerns and follow-up care for chronic conditions, when appropriate. Additionally, caregivers at Cleveland Clinic Children’s continue to provide educational talks on adolescent health, hygiene, dental health and other topics throughout the school year. The medical clinic at Lakewood High School also continues to serve students, school staff, and the community with medical and mental health services.
“Meijer cares deeply about the communities we serve, especially the health and wellbeing of the people who live in them,” Meijer President & CEO Rick Keyes said. “We’re pleased to continue our partnership with Cleveland Clinic to not only expand convenient access to healthcare services for children, but to also meet them where they are – at school.”
Meijer has been a generous partner supporting several Cleveland Clinic programs. The relationship began in 2018 when Meijer hosted a holiday party for Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital with donated toys and snacks for patients and families. During the pandemic, Meijer also donated thousands of dollars in gift cards to help with Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 response.