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Durham Wellness Center Gives Elementary Students Chance At Healthier Life

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DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University hopes to give some children a shot at a healthier life. The school's Division of Community Health opened a wellness center at E.K. Powe Elementary.

The wellness center at E.K Powe Elementary is small, but its benefits are huge.

"I think it's important to know our kids are well taken care of during the school day and if something happens, there are professionals who can deal with emergencies," parent Robin Kirk said.

Most schools just have a nurse who visits once a week, but at E.K. Powe Elementary, students can see Dr. Jane Ann Moore every day, who can handle more than just a scrape on a knee. She can also handle kids with asthma and chronic illnesses like diabetes.

Eighty-six percent of the children at E.K. Powe are from low-income families and may not have access to health care on a regular basis. This program will help eliminate that problem.

The clinic also offers convenience for parents. For example at another school, if a child was sick, the parent would have to leave work, pick up the child and take him or her to a doctor or pharmacy. At E.K. Powe Elementary, doctors can treat students at the wellness center.

Principal Brandon Patterson said he thinks the wellness center will cut down on the absentee rate.

"We know kids can be served quickly," he said. "Children should be healthier and should in school more often."

Families must pay to use the clinic, but organizers said they make every effort to make sure no family is overburdened by the cost. It is the fourth center of its kind that Duke has opened in Durham schools.


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