Variety Care plans to open clinic at Oklahoma City high school

Variety Care plans to open a health center at Capitol Hill High School, with hopes of expanding health care access while keeping students in school.
BY JACLYN COSGROVE jcosgrove@opubco.com Published: January 9, 2013

Variety Care announced plans Tuesday to open a community health center on Capitol Hill High School's campus.

The clinic will serve not only students but also their parents and the high school's faculty and staff.

Variety Care CEO Lou Carmichael said in a news release that Variety Care has been working with the high school's administrators for the past few years to try to develop the clinic.

“School-based health centers across the nation have had tremendous effects on the students and community members they serve,” Carmichael said. “In addition to keeping children healthier and in the classroom, school health centers also provide students with positive, professional role models in an appealing career field.”

Variety Care is a nonprofit community health center with several locations in Oklahoma.

Initially, Variety Care will start weekly visits in two rooms inside the high school. But by August, Variety Care plans to have a modular building that will have three exam rooms and a waiting area.

The clinic was made possible through a $335,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services' Health Resources Service Administration, a federal agency that works to improve health care access for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable.

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BACKGROUND

This isn't the first attempt to provide health care to Oklahoma City high school students. A clinic for pregnant girls and young mothers was open at Emerson Alternative High School for nearly 30 years before it was closed in 2009. It was run by OU Medical Center. The state Legislature cut funding to the state Health Department in 2009, and in turn, the department cut several programs, including the Emerson clinic.

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