Health Center Opens


(From left to right): Bruce Doughty, District 225 Board of Education President, U.S. Congresswoman Janet Schakowsky, Laura Fine, Illinois State Senator, Kara Rau, GSHC Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Charles Johns, District 225 Superintendent, Dr. R.J. Gravel, District 225 Associate Superintendent, Peter Glowacki, Board of Education Vice-President, and Dr. Julie Holland, Vice President of Pediatric Care for Advocate Children’s Hospital cut the ribbon for the opening of the Glenbrook School Health Center.

Kaitlyn Jiang and Milutin Todorovic

The Glenbrook School Health Center has officially opened, providing free-of-charge services to North and South, Kim Ptak, District 225 Director of Operations, said. The ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Jan. 13, with patients being seen as early as Dec. 12, 2022, Ptak explained.

The center is a walk-in clinic that replaces visits to primary care providers; students can be seen for immunizations, athletic and physical exams, mental health aid, blood and Covid-19 tests, and care for minor injuries, Ptak explained. The clinic is in an employee leasing partnership with Advocate Aurora Health, a nonprofit health system that provides a convenient way for students to access healthcare. This has been a significant benefit to the school and the surrounding community, Ptak said. 

“[We are] seeing about six patients a day,” Ptak said. “We typically have anywhere from 200 to 300 students who have not received their physicals, [and are not] allowed to [attend] school. [It] will be a huge measure of success when [the health center] can reach out to all families and make sure everyone has their physicals.”

Students at North can use this facility by driving to South or taking the shuttle bus transportation offered by District 225, Nurse Practitioner Kara Rau said. 

“[The shuttle bus] picks [students] up [at North] 10 to 15 minutes before their appointment time and brings [them to South],” Rau said. “As soon as the [the students] are done, they get right back [on the bus] where they [got] dropped off.”

South plans to introduce new services in the health center like Telehealth, allowing students to access healthcare through the internet, Ptak said. For example, the center plans to use a language translator tool and integrate advanced technological tools such as computers and telephones from Advocate Aurora Health that would simplify scheduling, Ptak said.

“The center uses a system called Epic, a scheduling patient record system [where staff] are able to call in prescriptions and send student information to the primary care physician if desired,” Ptak said. 

Health Advisory Committees, composed of the school administration, school nurses, the medical community, parents, and a single student representative, Drew Duffy, Student Body President, will provide input and feedback on the services provided by the clinic, Rau said. 

“[The center will] have different representatives [each year],” Rau said. “Through the Student Activities Office we will get recommendations [for student representatives].”

Another goal of the center is to educate students on taking ownership of their health and establish wellness independence for when they graduate, Rau said. 

“We want to [be] sure that our goal is to make [the health center] useful to the students [and health to be] seen as valuable,” Rau said.

Principal Dr. Barbara Georges expressed her compassion toward the portion of the student body who have challenges accessing health care.

“While not all families have [health] challenges, [what] concerns me is students [not being] eligible to be in school [due to their medical problems],” Georges said. “I believe it is important for this center to be here, providing those services and keeping our students in the building healthy and learning as often as possible.”