Rocking Horse receives $350K for school clinic at Springfield High

Clinic expected to open in 2024 ‘will be a tremendous benefit’ to community, CEO says.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Rocking Horse Community Health Center received a $350,000 grant to open a school-based health center at Springfield High School.

The annual grant comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration and is the largest award available, according to a release. The health center, to be operated by Rocking Horse, is one of 77 in the U.S. and four in the state to receive the maximum grant.

The clinic is planned to open in September 2024 in time for next school year, Rocking Horse CEO Kent Youngman said.

“It’s a great opportunity for the community,” Youngman said. “We think it will be a tremendous benefit, and as soon as we can get to the point of being able to give more specific information, we will push that out and be ready to accept new patients.”

Springfield City Schools partnered with Rocking Horse, the Community Health Foundation and the City of Springfield for the project.

A few classrooms on the east side of the high school building that are currently used for various academic subjects will be renovated for the clinic space, which will also have its own exterior entrance.

The clinic will be staffed by Rocking Horse employees, Youngman said, which the organization will hire specifically for the health center.

The health center will provide primary care, vaccinations, health screenings, mental health counseling, patient advocacy and material assistance for students, families, school faculty and other community members, according to the release.

Rocking Horse has operated a smaller SBHC at the School of Innovation for Springfield students since at least 2009. Youngman said the SBHC at Springfield High will be larger and offer more services because it has more students.

Research shows that student attendance and grades improve in school districts that have a school-based health clinic.

Youngman said the project has been in the works for more than a year.

Robert Hill, Springfield City School District’s CEO and superintendent, said in the release that the district is excited about the prospect.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with Rocking Horse Center to bring medical and mental health services into Springfield High School, not only to serve high school students but also to improve access to students across the district,” Hill said in the release.

With this grant, HRSA joins others who have committed funds to make this project a reality. They include the Springfield City School District, the City of Springfield, Community Health Foundation, Crabill Family Foundation, John Legend, Greg and Alicia Hupp and Wilson Sheehan Foundation.

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