JLAS District News

Johannesburg-Lewiston schools seeking voter approval for bond proposal

School-based clinic to open in JLAS as grant application is approved
By: Paul Welitzkin - The Petoskey News-Review

GAYLORD — Approval of a grant application from the Thunder Bay Community Health Services in partnership with the Johannesburg-Lewiston Area Schools will mean a school-based clinic for the district.

This first-of-its-kind school-based funding opportunity through the Health Resources and Services Administration was extremely competitive. The Thunder Bay Community Health Services application was one of only 27 awardees across the nation and is the only one in Michigan selected for funding.

Over $5 million was awarded to all 27 recipients of the grant through the Biden-Harris Administration to expand services at Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center Program School-Based Service Sites.

“We are very excited for this opportunity and we are eager to provide this service to the school and the larger community in Johannesburg,” said Michelle Styma, CEO of Thunder Bay Community Health Services, in a statement.

Katy Xenakis-Makowski, superintendent of the Johannesburg-Lewiston Area Schools, said, "They (Thunder Bay Community Health Services) have been able to get grants to open school-based health clinics in various districts like Onaway."

At the end of the school year in 2021, the federal government established a grant for a school clinic and Thunder Bay Community Health Services decided to apply for one with Johannesburg-Lewiston Area Schools.

Xenakis-Makowski said the grant, which totals $200,000, will fund the renovation of a part of the K-12 school building in Johannesburg for a clinic that will be staffed by a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant along with a school social worker.

Xenakis-Makowski also noted the convenience the clinic will provide.

"If there is a student who is sick in Johannesburg, for them to see a doctor they have to go to Gaylord or Lewiston," she said.

Xenakis-Makowski said the grant will allow the clinic to establish community hours and also provide health services in the district's Lewiston building.

The clinic will be able to treat students who suffer minor injuries, set up telehealth meetings with doctors and schedule routine medical treatments like an allergy shot, Xenakis-Makowski said.

"I am hopeful that we can get this clinic up and running by next September," she said.

This grant will be used to provide primary and preventative care to a community that wouldn’t normally have access to these services, Thunder Bay Community Health Services officials said. The two-year project period for this grant award includes one-time funding for minor alteration/renovation of the space, the expansion of workforce capacity with the addition of a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, and increased mental health provider capacity. 

Despite the closure of many schools due to COVID-19, health center program school-based service sites served more than 650,000 patients in 2020. As many students return to schools in-person, health centers will use this funding to expand their ability to provide general primary medical care, behavioral health (mental health and substance use) services, oral health, vision, and enabling services such as transportation, outreach, and translation services at school-based service sites, both in-person and through telehealth.



Updated 9/27/21