As part of CPEC’s commitment to promoting health and wellness in the lives of young children, Clinch-Powell Educational Cooperative Head Start/Early Head Start has partnered with the LMU DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine to provide high quality health screenings and physicals to preschool children.
This partnership promotes mutual benefits to both organizations. Children receive important vision, hearing and lead screenings as well as comprehensive physicals and LMU students get hands-on experience working with young children.
Dr. Ava Stanczak, LMU Associate Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, has been the pioneer of these annual Screening Days that began in 2013. The LMU students who participate volunteer their time and have the opportunity to get out of the classroom and work one-on- one with children. These students are interested in pediatrics and this is one of the first pre-clinical experiences they get to practice their skills.
“The Screening Days are all about the LMU students and the young patients they see. The better the students can communicate with parents and children, the more robust their overall educational experience,” said Stanczak.
Even though children may have insurance, that doesn’t mean that they are receiving comprehensive physicals and screenings. Some parents cannot afford doctor visits or co-pays and there is a lack of pediatricians in the area. Children are missing out on opportunities to identify issues early on.
Stanczak said, “We’re trying to embrace and take care of as many children as we can. It’s about doing the right thing and the right thing is to take care of the people in your community.”
“CPEC maintains Head Start’s high bar for child health and safety. Screening is the first step in getting to know a child at the beginning of the school year,” said Debbie Thomas, CPEC executive director.
Screening results help staff plan and individualize services. They also help them identify areas for further examination or evaluation. Children must be healthy to learn and CPEC, along with LMU, is ensuring that children achieve and maintain optimum physical health. Last year, thanks to the support of LMU, the number of Head Start children with up-to-date physicals increased 30 percent from the beginning to the end of the school year.