School health center helps students seeking asylum

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Sophia Guida

School health center helps students seeking asylum

February 28, 2023

As New York City has seen an influx of asylum seekers who arrive via Texas and Florida, Institute staff and providers in our school-based health centers have been working to help the children who enroll get the care they need. Most recently, 150 children were enrolled at PS 57, a K-8 school in East Harlem where the Institute operates a school-based health center.

All children who attend public school in New York City must provide documentation that their vaccines are up-to-date, and many of the children seeking asylum were unable to access health and dental care as they made the long journey to New York. At PS 57, the school-based health center staff have provided physicals, vaccines, care during illness, and dental care. Staff also helped students enroll in health insurance and access low-cost prescriptions through an agreement with a local pharmacy.

“We are very proud that we can help in this way,” said Elizabeth Ring, CPNP, the Medical Director for the Institute’s school-based health program, “Our staff are taking steps to make sure that the students are safe, healthy and thriving in their new school.”

In addition, Institute staff from other departments have volunteered to assist with outreach to families, scheduling appointments, suggestions on how to get vaccine records, and translation.

“I am so glad I can help the students and their families navigate these services. You can really see the relief on their faces when you communicate with them in their native language,” said Nicole Canchucaja, Associate Grants Manager, who has been volunteering to schedule students’ appointments and providing Spanish interpretation at the site.

This piece is part of series about the work the Institute is doing to help asylum seekers access health care in New York City. Read part one here.