Community News

Adena Health, Local Schools Partner to Expand School, Community Health Services

Recent state grant awards supporting partnerships between Adena Health and several area school districts to create school-based health centers will produce significant benefits for students and community members – both now and into the future.

The grant awards from the Appalachian Children’s Health Initiative announced recently by Gov. Mike DeWine are earmarked for projects expanding school- and community-based health services. The grant proposal was prepared by Nationwide Children’s Hospital on behalf of the Appalachian Children Coalition, working with school districts and health systems in communities across Appalachian Ohio to meet community needs.

Locally, Adena’s involvement in school-based health began more than 20 years ago with partnerships to provide athletic training services to student athletes. It later expanded through Adena’s involvement in community health needs assessments conducted every three years in Fayette, Highland, Pike, and Ross counties that identified children’s safety and lifelong wellness as priority issues. Those conclusions recently resulted in more targeted school district health and wellness assessments revealing that primary care, mental health, dental and nutrition services are priorities needing addressed.

In late 2021, the health system formed a number of partnerships to meet school-based needs for health care programs and services, resulting in the launch of a school-based mobile clinic in the fall of 2023. It also partnered with the schools and Nationwide Children’s Hospital beginning in late spring of 2023 as areas were being identified for expanded or permanent services and locations to include in the grant proposal.

The result is the next step forward in expanding school-based care across the region.

“With these resources, we have the chance to change young people’s lives in elementary through high school and beyond,” said John Gabis, MD, Adena medical director of community partnerships. “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.”

The school districts will receive the grant funding for the projects. Those locally selected for funding are:

  • Adena Local School District ($5.75 million grant): The school district will establish a Warrior Wellness Center located on its new athletic field complex. Serving students, school staff and members of the Frankfort community, the facility will offer a variety of health, wellness and social services including a primary health clinic, pharmacy, a community wellness and activity center, an indoor walking track, and offices for behavioral health and other community-serving organizations. On-site primary care clinical services will be offered five days a week through Adena Health with a primary care provider and support staff.
  • Chillicothe City School District ($662,130 grant): This project will utilize a 1,300-square-foot space within the district enrollment center on the high school/middle school campus to serve as a school-based health center. With its proximity to the high school gym, it will create easy access for students, staff, and community members alike, and the center will be able to address those identified care priorities. On-site clinical services will be supported through Adena.
  • Greenfield, Southeastern, Waverly, Wellston, and Zane Trace schools ($232,965 grant): Through partnerships with these school districts, Adena will expand the scope of services its mobile health program delivers to families across the multi-county service region. The mobile unit is equipped to provide primary care and dental services on-site, removing barriers to care and providing the ability to connect patients who have care needs beyond what the unit can offer with a provider who can meet those needs.
  • Huntington Local School District ($556,290 grant): The district will establish a school-based health center within Huntington’s unified campus located in the high school section of the building and staffed by Adena. The health system will work to ensure effective delivery of primary care and preventative care services for patients, health and social-related professional development services for staff, ongoing assessment of school needs, and athletic training and support services.
  • Pickaway-Ross Career and Technology Center ($524,250 grant): A school-based health clinic will be established on the Pickaway-Ross CTC campus that will offer on-site medical care, vaccinations, health education programs, and access to primary care mental health while also serving as a centralized health care resource for families and the community.
  • Union-Scioto Local School District ($605,610 grant): A school-based health center will be created within the Union-Scioto schools campus with on-site clinical services supported through Adena. The health system will work to ensure effective delivery of primary care and preventative care services for patients, health and social-related professional development services for staff, ongoing assessment of school needs, and athletic training and support services.

Among other benefits, the projects announced will help eliminate transportation barriers to care, provide more convenient access to care, ensure services are readily available in those identified priority areas, and help connect students and members of the community to more specialized care when the need arises.

Union-Scioto Local Schools Superintendent Matt Thornsberry said the district is thankful for Adena’s partnership in the project, which he feels will result in improved student attendance, health and well-being. It also, he added, will help in the response to increasing challenges faced by both students and dedicated staff in today’s ever-changing educational environment.

“The demand and expectations placed on public schools continue to rise exponentially along with the needs of students, families and staff,” Thornsberry said. “A school district simply cannot be successful without the support of partnerships within and outside the community. It truly takes way more than a village to raise and educate a child. Our partnership with Adena is a move forward toward our goal of making a difference in the lives of students and families in our community.”

All told, the grants represent a $64 million investment in 36 communities across 20 Appalachian Ohio counties that is expected to impact nearly 375,000 youth, families, and community members.

For more about Adena Health’s community health programs and services, visit or call 740-779-7573.