Home News Healthcare Initiatives in Appalachia Set to Transform Communities

Healthcare Initiatives in Appalachia Set to Transform Communities


Chillicothe, OH (April 2, 2024) – The recent allocation of state grants, facilitated by the Appalachian Children’s Health Initiative and announced by Governor Mike DeWine, is poised to revolutionize healthcare access for students and residents across Appalachian Ohio. These grants, directed towards partnerships between Adena Health and multiple local school districts, are earmarked for the establishment of school-based health centers, promising lasting benefits for communities.

Adena’s involvement in school-based health initiatives traces back over two decades, initially focused on providing athletic training services to student athletes. Over time, their commitment evolved through periodic community health needs assessments, which identified children’s safety and lifelong wellness as top priorities. These assessments led to more focused studies within local school districts, revealing a pressing need for primary care, mental health, dental, and nutrition services.

Building upon existing partnerships, Adena collaborated with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and local school districts to address these identified healthcare gaps. The culmination of these efforts resulted in the successful application for grants, paving the way for the expansion of school-based healthcare services throughout the region.

Dr. John Gabis, Adena’s medical director of community partnerships, expressed optimism about the transformative potential of these resources, stating, “With these resources, we have the chance to change young people’s lives in elementary through high school and beyond. This is our chance to impact multiple generations and help them be healthy and vibrant, improving their lives and the lives after them. This is a monumental step to make a difference early in life that can bear great benefits.”

Locally, several school districts have been selected to receive grant funding for innovative healthcare projects:

  • Adena Local School District ($5.75 million grant): Establishing a comprehensive wellness center, offering primary health services, pharmacy, and community wellness activities.
  • Chillicothe City School District ($662,130 grant): Utilizing a designated space on the high school/middle school campus to establish a school-based health center.
  • Greenfield, Southeastern, Waverly, Wellston, and Zane Trace schools ($232,965 grant): Expanding mobile health services to address primary care and dental needs.
  • Huntington Local School District ($556,290 grant): Establishing a health center within the unified campus, focusing on primary and preventative care.
  • Pickaway-Ross Career and Technology Center ($524,250 grant): Creating a school-based health clinic offering medical care and health education programs.
  • Union-Scioto Local School District ($605,610 grant): Establishing a health center within the school campus, providing primary care and preventative services.

These initiatives aim to eliminate transportation barriers, enhance access to care, and provide specialized services as needed. Matt Thornsberry, Superintendent of Union-Scioto Local Schools, emphasized the significance of partnerships in improving student outcomes and community well-being.

The grants represent a $64 million investment across 20 Appalachian Ohio counties, promising to positively impact nearly 375,000 individuals. For more information on Adena Health’s community health programs, visit Adena.org/community-health or call 740-779-7573.

In summary, these initiatives mark a significant stride towards equitable healthcare access and improved well-being for Appalachian Ohio’s youth and communities.