DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County School District and Emory University will collaborate on developing six new school-based health centers in DeKalb County schools.

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The school-based health centers are designed to improve the overall health and wellbeing of children and adolescents through comprehensive health services.

“We know that healthy students are more likely to come to school on a daily basis, remain engaged and excel academically,” interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson said. “We look forward to the opportunity to form meaningful and impactful partnerships with other agencies to serve our children in need.”

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The district is in the process of identifying the six sites and plans to open the first two during the 2020-2021 school year. The school-based health centers will be directed by Dr. Veda Johnson, professor in the department of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine.

“School-based health centers are a holistic approach to caring for underserved children and adolescents, improving access to primary health care, and in turn improving overall health outcomes and school attendance and performance,” Johnson said. “The structure of these health centers will include comprehensive primary care with an integrated behavioral health component. This is critical to providing care for the whole child and addressing those issues that impact a child’s learning and overall academic achievement.”

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Emory will use tax revenues collected by DeKalb — estimated at $1.35 million per year — to establish six school-based health centers in DeKalb Schools over a five-year span. After the five-year agreement, DeKalb County Schools and Emory aim to make these health centers self-sustaining within the communities they serve.

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