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J Adolesc Health. 1994 Nov;15(7):549-57.

Medical clinics in junior high school: changing the model to meet demands.



To document the development of an initiative undertaken by the Columbia University School of Public Health to provide medical, mental health, and social services in inner city junior high school-based clinics.


Review of records, reports, and foundation proposals from 1984-1993. Site visits, interviews with clinic staff, school personnel, and students.


Years of planning and community development produced four clinics in the Washington Heights area of New York City, the first school-based clinics located in junior high schools in the country. After seven years, the program has the capacity to serve over 4,000 students who present an overwhelming array of physical, psychological, social, and family problems. Almost 23,000 visits were made to the clinics this year: 49% for medical services, 38% for social services, and 13% for health education. As the demand multiplied, a form of triage was implemented that tracked the highest risk students into intensive individual and group interventions. Primary health screening, mental health services, and pregnancy prevention were identified among the critical needs in this deprived community.


Over the years, the clinics have become integrated into the fabric of the schools. Strategies for working in urban junior high schools must be broad, encompassing medical and mental health services, group counseling, life planning and career orientation, along with enhancement of the total school and learning environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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