West Haven adds dental care to school health center


WEST HAVEN — An expanding local partnership will give the city’s students a reason to smile.

The school district is expanding its partnership with Bridgeport-based Optimus Health Care to add two dental health workers to the school health center at West Haven High School.

Currently, a dental van would provide students with limited services – principal Dana Paredes said the van has increased visits from monthly to weekly; soon, a dentist and dental hygienist will meet with students inside the school’s health center up to three days a week.

Paredes said that prior to this expansion, the clinic offered family medicine and behavioral health services.

“Students’ physical health is so important to their school health,” she said. “If a student does not feel well physically, it is detrimental to his studies. Heart health is linked to dental care. It is important that children have good dental care, not only for their general health, but because there are trust factors that prevent them from having dental care.

Paredes said clinic staff sometimes set up appointments for students before or after school, but will also see students during study or lunch times.

The city is also considering an expansion of pop-up clinics at the middle and elementary levels to provide students and families with a convenient way to receive mandatory physical exams before enrolling.

“If a child doesn’t have a physical they can’t start, so we need to provide families – especially those new to the district – with resources to enable them to get their physicals and start school. “said the superintendent of schools. Neil Cavallaro. “Even our high school athletes need it: if the kids can’t play sports, maybe they’re not as excited about coming to school or they’re less likely to come. at school.

Cavallaro said having contextual medical sites would help the district’s enrollment efforts and prevent students from missing “critical” moments in class.

“This is a community where many don’t have access or resources, and we want to make it as convenient as possible to make sure the kids are healthy, feeling good physically, socially and emotionally. When that happens, they learn better,” he said.

According to an analysis by Data Haven, 12% of adults in West Haven are uninsured.

Optimus Health Care did not respond to a request for comment.

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