LEONARDTOWN, MD (May 4, 2021) – The St. Mary’s County Equity Task Force is pleased to announce official state recognition of the two new school-based health centers (SBHCs) in the county, as well as a $650,000 grant awarded to the St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) to support clinical service delivery at the SBHCs.
Following a review of operational plans and a joint site visit from the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland State Department of Education, the newly constructed SBHCs at Spring Ridge Middle School and Margaret Brent Middle School have been approved as aligned with Maryland’s school-based health standards for Level III SBHCs. This will allow SMCHD to begin developing clinical services at these sites, including telehealth capacity.
In addition, the independent Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC) voted to award the St. Mary’s County Health Department a $650,000 two-year grant to promote health equity and health care access by building clinical and health education services at the new SBHCs. This funding will support hiring of primary care medical providers, behavioral health specialists, and a nutritionist to serve school students and staff at the new SBHCs. Currently, SMCHD is utilizing the SBHCs for COVID-19 response, including COVID-19 testing.
“We are grateful for our valuable relationships with the St. Mary’s County Public Schools and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office in getting these SBHCs ready for future operations so that we may continue to advance health equity in our county,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “I especially want to recognize the many members of our SMCHD team who – despite the ongoing strain of the COVID-19 pandemic response – have worked diligently to develop successful plans for these new SBHCs. SMCHD team members Johnn Cave, nurse Terry Prochnow, and Stacy Del Vecchio have dedicated admirable effort on behalf of our county residents in getting these sites funded and state-recognized.”
“Breaking down barriers that prevent consistent attendance and hinder academic engagement are central to providing equitable access to education. Being able to provide on-campus access to healthcare and clinical services for our students during the day and the community in the evenings is an incredible step forward,” said Dr. J. Scott Smith, Superintendent of St. Mary’s County Public Schools.
“I am extremely proud of the local partnerships between the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Office, the St. Mary’s County Health Department and St. Mary’s County Public Schools and the progress we’ve made to address equity in our community,” Sheriff Tim Cameron said. “We appreciate the state’s continued support in our endeavors.”
To learn more about efforts to advance equity in public safety, education, and health in St. Mary’s County, visit www.smchd.org/equity
On June 29, 2020, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, St. Mary’s County Public Schools, and the St. Mary’s County Health Department signed a Joint Resolution to Advance Equity locally in regards to public safety, education and health. The partners established a St. Mary’s County Equity Task Force in recognition of the need to collaborate across sectors to better address equity overall.