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Connections 2017

Goldsboro News Argus - Progress Edition

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26 Leslie Ricker, nurse prac- titioner, listens to the chest of Laura Summer- lin, 10, in the WISH clinic at Mount Olive Middle School on Friday, Jan. 27. D escribed as a "mini doctor's office" within a school, WISH marks its 20th year in Wayne County Public Schools this December. The program was first established in 1997 in response to growing numbers of children lacking health insurance. Today, WISH –– an acronym for Wayne Ini- tiative for School Health –– is at six schools in the district. Each location is staffed by a nurse practitioner, registered nurse, social workers, nutritionists and dental hygienists. Services can range from primary medical care, education, preventive screenings and mental health care to dental, vision and hearing checks. Students can also receive immunizations, physicals and prescriptions –– all without having to take too much time away from their school day. Appointments are scheduled during the student's elective classes, but there is also a walk-in option. The service is available to all students, as long as parents register them for the WISH program, says Phyllis Hill, execu- tive director. "No sick child is ever turned away in WISH as long as they're enrolled," she said. Mrs. Hill has worked in the program since its inception. She credits the combined efforts of Dr. David Tayloe, of Goldsboro Pedi- atrics, Wayne Memorial Hospital and funding agencies like Duke Endowment with building the foundation back around 1996. "The Duke Endowment contacted Jim Hubbell, the CEO at the time (of WMH) to see if there was something that they could do to help Wayne County," she recalled. "Wayne County had a high rate of uninsured children and the Duke Endowment wanted to see if there was something that they could do to help Wayne County. "Mr. Hubbell contacted Dr. Tayloe, who had always kind of envisioned school-based health, and that is how the WISH concept came together." Dr. Tayloe, who had been on the school board from 1983 to 1992, most of them with the city schools board, said there had been "glaring discrepancies" with teen pregnan- cies, prompting the board to look at how to address it. A health educator was hired away from the Health Department. "Sharon Vann came in as this vivacious African-American, pro-abstinence health educator who was willing to talk with the kids," he said. "She reduced teen pregnancy by 50 percent in like a year and a half and she continued to do that until the schools merged." Ms. Vann went on to Durham to pursue her nursing degree, but left behind a lesson. "She taught us the value of school-based health professionals, and Sissy Lee-Elmore, executive director of WATCH, or Wayne HEALTHY YOUTH: WISH celebrates 20 years WISH marks its 20th year in Wayne County Public Schools, offering services at six schools with each location staffed with a nurse practitioner, registered nurse, social workers, nutritionists and dental hygienists. See WISH, Page 29 Story by PHYLLIS MOORE Photos by CASEY MOZINGO Leslie Ricker, a nurse practitioner with the WISH program, speaks on the phone to a school nurse she works with at South- ern Wayne High School about a stu- dent who is having breathing problems.

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