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Sacred Heart Press Release


Highmark Foundation addresses children’s health care in Allentown School District through a $105,000 grant to Sacred Heart Hospital



Debra Christoffel

Highmark Inc.




Valerie Downing

Vice President of Foundation, Marketing and Public Relations

Sacred Heart Hospital



Highmark Foundation addresses children’s health care in Allentown School District through a $105,000 grant to Sacred Heart Hospital

LEHIGH VALLEY (Oct. 6, 2011) – The Highmark Foundation has awarded a $105,000 grant to Sacred Heart Hospital to sustain operations of school-based health centers (SBHCs) in five Allentown School District elementary schools. These SBHCs provide primary care services and a medical home for predominately uninsured students and their families.

Allentown School District is the third largest urban school district in Pennsylvania, with a growing need to expand school-based health care for an increasing population of low-income and uninsured students and families. In an effort to serve more children, the Highmark Foundation grant will partially fund salaries for two certified nurse practitioners, two medical assistants and an administrative/business liaison for two years.

'This grant addressed our overall objectives to limit missed school days due to illness, increase the number of students who will be immunized and appropriately address chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes,' said Dennis Pfleiger, Vice President of Clinical Services at Sacred Heart Hospital. This specific team makes up the most effective and efficient model of school-based health care delivery, according to the National Assembly on School-based Health Care.

The School-Based Health Center concept was started nearly 20 years ago to provide children enrolled in grades K-12 with health care services. The centers are located in Jefferson, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Mosser and Dodd elementary schools. Services provided include screenings, immunizations, outpatient visits, medical evaluations, physical exams and vision screenings. Sacred Heart is also addressing the school district’s increasing population of children at risk for obesity as well as working with school nurses to provide Individualized Health Plans for chronically ill children. 

'It’s so important that the School-Based Health Center is able to coordinate efforts with the school nurses to ensure that children receive the proper preventive care and chronic disease management they need,' said Highmark Foundation President, Yvonne Cook. 'Since children spend a majority of their day at school, this valuable staff will help improve the health and wellness for more students in the Allentown School District.'

About the Highmark Foundation

The Highmark Foundation is a charitable organization, a private foundation and an affiliate of Highmark Inc. that supports initiatives and programs aimed at improving community health. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for individuals who reside in the communities where we do business. The Foundation strives to support evidence-based programs that impact multiple counties and work collaboratively to leverage additional funding to achieve replicable models. For more information, visit www.highmarkfoundation.com.

About Sacred Heart Hospital

Sacred Heart Hospital is a 233-bed, acute care, medical/surgical hospital located in the heart of Allentown, PA. In 2012, Sacred Heart Hospital will celebrate 100 years of serving the health care needs of our community. Its work is centered on the campus at Fourth and Chew Streets but reaches out across the city through seven primary care sites, five school-based health Centers and three parish nursing locations. The mission commits Sacred Heart to provide healthcare and wellness through quality services and programs with special concern for the sick and the poor. For more information, visit www.shh.org.


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