From the superintendent’s desk

Community working to provide local medical services

Since 2019, community leaders have met and identified four of the most pressing community needs. They are access to:  1) Health care, 2) Public transportation, 3) Fresh foods year-round, and 4) Services for senior citizens.

Stockbridge has been without local medical services for several years. Last year, community leaders received a grant from the Ingham County Board of Commissioners’ American Rescue Plan Funds. The grant provides a school-based registered nurse and a clinical social worker for two years to address COVID-related medical needs and establish a health education, prevention and treatment program for the area children and youth. This is one step toward addressing the community’s long-range health goals.

Now we are working to secure grant funding to construct the Stockbridge Area Health Center. The center will provide medical and mental health services for students, adults, families and senior citizens in Stockbridge and in our six neighboring townships. We have created concept drawings and detailed plans for the center. The building will be close to, but separate from, the junior/senior high school building and invitingly accessible to all children and adults in the area.

Throughout this process our major concern has been service sustainability. We have seen medical services come and go in our community. In 2020, Stockbridge was designated by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) as “mental health underserved” and “medically underserved.”  This was another step forward because it certified Stockbridge as eligible to receive federal funds and reimbursements. Addressing the sustainability concern, leaders created a partnership with Packard Health, a Washtenaw County Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). A FQHC has a mission to serve underserved populations—fully insured or underinsured. We are confident that this model will make our Health Center sustainable for the long term.

Soon we will be sharing our ideas on how to move this project forward and will be looking for even more community input and support. The construction of a health center in Stockbridge will be a final step in the long-range planning that was started three years ago—to provide needed medical and mental health services for all, but especially for our children.

Brian Friddle
Superintendent of Schools

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