Grant will open a community health center at Randolph High
RANDOLPH — For Chris Paul, a three-sport athlete at Randolph High School, a recent medical appointment meant a trip out of town and wasted time in class.
Soon it may just require a walk down the hall.
U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley visited Randolph on Wednesday to announce she will receive $1 million in federal funds to build a community health center at Randolph High School. She said the center would help reduce barriers to health services for Randolph residents and support an equitable pandemic recovery for the town, which is made up of a diverse population and a large number of immigrants.
“Randolph experienced a shortage of health services before COVID,” Pressley said.
City Manager Brian Howard said the clinic is a first step toward the goal of a full-service, self-contained community health center. He said a lack of local medical providers hampered the city’s response to the pandemic, while testing and isolation were important to stopping the spread.
“This pandemic has laid bare it,” Howard said of the lack of medical services in Randolph.
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With a population of 35,000, Randolph has recorded more than 9,500 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began more than two years ago.
Howard said better access to medical care is also key to fighting other illnesses.
“Access to local health care services saves lives,” Howard said. “This facility will bring so much hope to so many people.”
The clinic will be operated by Codman Square Community Health Center in Dorchester. Sandra Cotterell, the center’s chief executive, said it already provides medical care to nearly 4,500 Randolph residents.
“We are delighted to provide these services,” Cotterell said.
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The center will focus its services on residents ages 3 to 24 and their families, and will initially be staffed with a nurse practitioner, mental health clinicians and physician assistants, Cotterell said. They will provide services such as routine medical checkups, vaccinations and mental health services and will also help arrange appointments with other providers. She hopes eventually to have a doctor working at the center.
Randolph School Superintendent Thea Stovell said the center is “a huge win for our families and our students. It would get the resources to our families where they need them.”
That would mean students would miss less class time for health reasons and likely lead to better academic results, Stovell said.
Hannah Nguyen, a member of the high school tennis team, said her grades suffered when she had health issues and had to miss classes for medical appointments.
Michelle Tyler, the city’s planning director, hopes to open the center in time for the 2023-2024 school year.
Howard said the city would apply for grants to help pay for running costs.
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