Dr. Joel & Carol Bower School-Based Health Center celebrates 10th Anniversary with Community Health Fair

The Dr. Joel & Carol Bower School-Based Health Center (SBHC) celebrated 10 years of serving the Henderson community with a Community Health Fair on Saturday, June 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event featured free activities and services, including children's immunizations, dental screenings, safety tips, games and a silent auction.

Approximately 125 people attended the health fair, along with 57 vendors and more than 25 volunteers. Also in attendance were representatives from the offices of Congressman Joe Heck, Senator Harry Reid and Senator Dean Heller. The SBHC received a certificate of recognition from Congressman Heck's office to recognize the SBHC and celebrate its 10th Anniversary.

During a special ceremony, awards were presented to individuals who were instrumental to the growth and development of the center over the past decade. Those awardees include: Susan Segal, former principal of Basic High School; Barbara Ludwig, consultant to the Clark County Health District, organizer of the Health Advisory Council, and founder of the SBHC; Dr. Connie Carpenter, former Dean of Nursing at NSC, member of the Health Advisory Council, and founder of the SBHC; Dr. Joel Bower, member of the Health Advisory Council and first medical director of the SBHC; Yvonne Chavez, Basic High School nurse; David Bechtel, Basic High School Principal.

This was an important event for us, said SBHC Coordinator Erika Webber. One, it was the School-Based Health Center's10th Anniversary, and secondly, it was an opportunity to get more exposure for the SBHC and to re-introduce the center back into the community.

The SBHC was founded in 2004 as a partnership between Nevada State College School of Nursing and Basic High School to address significant unmet health needs of Henderson children. Operated by the NSC School of Nursing and located on the Basic High School Campus, the health center serves Henderson school children ages 4-19.

I feel a lot of pride that the School of Nursing and NSC have served the community through the center for 10 years, said Dr. Sherrilyn Coffman, Director of the School-Based Health Center. The services provided by nurse practitioners at the SBHC include: immunizations, acute and minor emergency care, chronic disease management, pre-participation sport physicals, and health education.

Although the SBHC has experienced growth and success over the past ten years, SBHC leaders don't intend to rest on their laurels. Dr. Coffman says the SBHC has big plans for the future, including adding more services to provide to the community. Most recently, the SBHC has added mental health support groups for Basic High School students. According to Dr. Coffman, the School-Based Health Center is completing the certification process at the state level, to increase funding opportunities.

There are very few school-based health centers in Nevada, Dr. Coffman said. Our center is at the cutting edge for the state, and is a model for new centers being developed in northern Nevada. Webber agreed, saying, We re laying the groundwork for School-Based Health Centers. We are the model for all School-Based Health Centers in Nevada.

The School-Based Health Center has received funding and support from Nevada State College, along with the Trust Fund for Public Health, the City of Henderson, St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Henderson Police and Fire Departments, and many other individuals and community agencies. Without the support of the college, the SBHC would not exist, Dr. Coffman said. We rely on that support.

Webber says the health center's goal is to use that support to become a staple of the Henderson community. Now we re creating more partnerships with non-profit and for-profit community organizations, Webber said. We want to bring more people in and offer even more services to the community.

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