Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

Clinic at Manual Arts Senior High School to provide health care to students, residents

clinic, medicine, south central family health center

Mae Ryan/KPCC

The Mark Ridley-Thomas Wellness Center at Manual Arts High School will provide primary, mental and dental care to students of the school as well as thousands of residents from the surrounding community.

Local school and health officials cut the ribbon Monday morning on South L.A.'s newest school-based clinic at Manual Arts Senior High School.

The Mark Ridley-Thomas Wellness Center at Manual Arts is one of several school-based health centers to open in the area in recent weeks. It joins the ranks of Fremont Wellness Center and Community Garden, Washington Preparatory High School Wellness Center and Jordan Wellness Center.

School-based health centers, which provide care at low or no cost to both students and residents of the surrounding community, provide an easy access point for critical services in communities where many folks are uninsured. Jim Mangia, the president and CEO of St. John's Well Child and Family Center, has called them "the future of health care delivery."

"It gives you the opportunity to intervene at the earliest possible moment in a family's health trajectory," he said in a recent interview. "You're creating a culture of health and you've got a captive audience with which to do that."

St. John's will operate Mark Ridley-Thomas Wellness Center, which is expected to officially open its doors for business on June 21. While St. John's has provided care to Manual Arts students for four years, the move to a new facility will allow the center to also treat members of the surrounding community. Among the services that'll be offered:

  • Primary care: Immunizations, physicals, lab services, STD/HIV testing, birth control, women's health, vision and hearing, nutrition.
  • Mental care: Support groups, therapy, family counseling.
  • Support services: Health insurance enrollment, case management, health education.

Although the clinic will provide dental services – including exams, fillings and extractions – those will be rolled out at some point after the June 21 opening date.

One health provider, alternately a physician or physician assistant, is expected to staff the clinic, and it will be open three days a week: Mondays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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