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DeKalb County Schools, Emory to establish school-based health centers

Media Contact

Portia Kirkland
DeKalb County School District
Catherine Morrow
Emory University

DeKalb County School District (DCSD) and Emory University will collaborate on the development of six school-based health centers in DeKalb County Schools. 

The centers will serve to improve the overall health and well-being of children and adolescents through comprehensive health services that support the student, their families and the school system.

“DeKalb County School District is excited about the partnership opportunity with Emory in establishing the six new school-based health centers. We will begin the planning work to identify the six sites in preparation for the opening of the first two beginning the 2020-2021 school year,” says DCSD Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson. “We know that healthy students are more likely to come to school on a daily basis, remain engaged and excel academically,” Tyson says.

The school-based health centers will be directed by Veda Johnson, MD, 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,” says Johnson. “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.” 

Emory will use tax revenues collected by DeKalb County to establish the six health centers in DeKalb Schools over a five-year span.

The first two centers will be established in the 2020-2021 school year. The remainder will be added at the rate of two per year over the five-year length of the agreement.

The tax revenue used to establish these centers is estimated at $6.75 million, or $1.35 million per year.

After the five-year agreement expires, DeKalb County Schools and Emory aim to make these school-based health centers self-sustaining within the communities they serve.

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