Grant funding enables La Maestra to expand medical and dental health services to more schools

La Maestra Clinic on Fairmount Avenue

Thanks to a $406,733 grant awarded under the federal Affordable Care Act, La Maestra Community Health Centers will expand medical and dental services to schools in City Heights and elsewhere in San Diego County.

The funding will allow La Maestra to purchase a new mobile clinic to provide medical, dental and other health and well-being services to about 9,000 more elementary and middle school students. The 40-foot mobile clinic will feature two dental chairs and one exam room.

The van will provide substantial savings for families because they will no longer need to miss work and school to drive to a clinic. La Maestra will save money as well because it won’t have to shoulder the costs associated with building a permanent clinic on a campus.

“This new mobile clinic will allow us to effectively increase access to preventive care and treatment for so many students and families who aren’t able to see the doctor otherwise, and the children won’t have to miss school,” said Zara Marselian, La Maestra’s chief executive officer.

La Maestra, which has been serving City Heights for more than two decades, established its first school-based health center when it took over the clinic at Hoover High School in 2009. Ever since then, it’s been working to expand services to more schools. Last year, through funding from its community partners, The California Endowment and Price Charities, the nonprofit health provider opened a second school-based clinic at Central Elementary School. Plans for additional on-campus clinics in City Heights are underway.

Students and their families around the country rely on school-based health centers like La Maestra’s to meet their needs for a full range of age-appropriate health services. La Maestra’s school-based programs offer wellness exams; screening for lead, tuberculosis, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and anemia; treatment for acute illnesses, such as the flu, and chronic conditions, including asthma and diabetes; oral health exams, dental X-rays and treatment, and oral hygiene education. Vision, hearing and mental health screenings and referrals are also available.

For 21 years, La Maestra has provided disease prevention, treatment, chronic disease management, and essential support services to more than 155,000 men, women and children in City Heights, National City, Lemon Grove and El Cajon.

Lindy Webb is the executive assistant at La Maestra Community Health Centers.