Choptank Community Health recently added school-based dental services to Kent, and Queen Anne’s County public school student enrollees. Choptank Health’s dental services are already provided in Dorchester County Public Schools, with dental and medical services available to students enrolled in the school-based health programs of Caroline and Talbot County Public Schools.
Choptank Community Health’s Chief Dental Officer Sandra Garbely- Kerkovich, DMD and Community Based Program Director Chrissy Bartz, PAC, MMS oversee the school-based dental program, with Pre-K through 12th-grade students enrolled in each school are eligible to receive care at any location.
Registered dental hygienists provide on-site dental screenings, fluoride treatments, sealant applications, and dental hygiene education. The free dental screenings include examinations of the teeth and all soft tissues of the mouth—along with instruction on brushing and flossing, and education on the importance of eating healthy foods in good oral hygiene.
“Strong partnerships with the area’s local school systems are critical to the impact our School-Based Health Centers have on the wellness of all students,” said Choptank Community Health CEO Sara Rich. “We are thankful for the commitment of each school and county for recognizing the importance of this program in helping to provide access to health care for all.”
Choptank Community Health operates 12 medical school-based health centers, located in each Caroline County Public School and in Talbot County Public School’s Easton Elementary, Easton Middle, and Easton High Schools.
“School-Based Health Centers improve attendance by limiting the amount of time students and staff miss from school and work by providing the care they need, and then allowing them to return to school as appropriate,” says Bartz. “It’s a great service to our students, their parents, our schools, and ultimately our entire communities.”
Each medical health center is staffed by licensed advanced practice clinicians, including Certified Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants, and function like a typical doctor’s office. Choptank Health is offering telehealth and curbside visits at the schools for COVID testing, with quarantining protocols and separate well-child spaces on premise.
According to the School-Based Health Alliance, school-based health care is a powerful tool for achieving health equity among children and adolescents who unjustly experience disparities in outcomes simply because of their race, ethnicity, or family income.
The Alliance says school-based health care is also a commonsense idea gaining currency across the country as it places critically needed services like medical, behavioral, dental, and vision care directly in schools so that all young people, no matter their zip code, have equal opportunity to learn and grow. More about the Alliance is at sbh4all.org.
Choptank Community Health System’s mission is to provide access to exceptional, comprehensive, and integrated health care for all. Choptank Health’s vision is to improve the health and well-being of people in the communities served by providing outstanding care experiences while being an exceptional place to work and make a difference.
Parents and guardians can enroll their students in Choptank Community Health’s School-Based Health Centers by calling their school’s health staff or Health Center, with more at choptankhealth.org.