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Kensington Health Sciences Academy, in partnership with CVS Health, Melanie Ginn and Associates, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, the School District of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Office are teaming up to create a health and wellness center at the school in September.

— PHOTO BY ABDUL SULAYMAN/TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

Kensington Health Sciences Academy (KHSA) is continuing to be innovative in how they teach and support their students.

The school is working with CVS Health, Melanie Ginn and Associates, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, the School District of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Office to create a health and wellness center at the school. The goal of the center is to improve the physical and mental health outcome of the students in order to support academic achievement and workforce readiness.

CVS Health is supporting the center as part of its core values to help people on their path to better health and to support breaking the cycle of poverty through workforce development. St. Christopher’s Hospital will be providing clinical health services and the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education will be offering counseling and social work services for the center. The SMART Student Health and Wellness Center (SSHWC) is scheduled to open with the start of the new school year in September.

“Our work as a school is never done,” said principal James Williams. “We’re always thinking ahead and how we can expand on what we are already doing. The journey started a few years ago when we went from Kensington Culinary Arts High School to the current Kensington Health Sciences Academy. We’ve created an environment that encourages personal growth and the opportunity to explore new challenges.

“Students are now preparing for a career in the health sciences,” Williams added. “We are continuing to enhance our partnerships and provide the best opportunities for our students. This latest project will once again have the school, local partnerships and the community working together. We’re very excited for what this new chapter will bring to our school, our students and the community at-large.”

The SSHWC will provide access to evidence-based basic preventive and primary care, behavioral health care, urgent care and chronic disease management, and drive utilization of the most effective and efficient interventions for KHSA’s students. All students will receive an initial annual medical evaluation and risk assessment.

“We started the community school concept a few years ago when Mr. Williams decided to take a risk and changed the dynamics of how students were being taught in Kensington,” said guidance counselor Bob Nelson. “Once the school changed to health sciences, a lot of great things started to fall into place. Mr. Williams has been very proactive in developing strategic relationships and partnerships with the community. We have great relationships with several hospitals, universities and nonprofits.

“The health center will be student- and education-based,” Nelson added. “In addition to making sure our students are prepared for college and a career in the health fields, we want to also ensure all students are healthy and develop the knowledge and skill necessary to live long lives through healthy lifestyle choices. The model of the center will connect, collaborate and create with the community — programs, services and support that will result in successful outcomes for the school’s students. We have a lot of community partners that will work with and support the goals of the SSHWC. We’re all looking forward to what this center is going to bring to our school.”

chill@phillytrib.com

(215) 893-5716

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