Thousands benefit from hospital-school partnerships for student screenings


Thousands of families in the Midstate benefit from hospitals and schools teaming up to provide free health screenings for students.

These important screenings could take nurses all year to complete, but with the help of local hospitals, they get done in a day. Plus, follow-ups are scheduled.

Students in Lebanon are getting their eyes, ears, heights, and weights checked. 

“We do have students here who share glasses in a family,” Lebanon superintendent Dr. Arthur Abrom said. “For example, maybe one child wears glasses on Monday and Wednesday and the other student wears them on Tuesday and Thursday.”

“Talking with the school nurses, they said if we could just get help with the screenings it would be incredible,” said Jeanne Arnold, who is on the Penn State Hershey Medical Center board and the hospital’s community outreach board. 

That’s what began a partnership between the Lebanon School District and Penn State Hershey Medical Center. It has grown over the years to include other hospitals, too. 

“That gives us ample enough time to make the referrals,” said Toni Henning, the nursing coordinator for Lebanon School District and the K-12 health coordinator. “They’re not waiting the entire school year to receive glasses or hearing aids.”

Penn State Hershey has helped other districts and hospitals develop their own forms of the program. 

This year, Penn State will begin screenings at Harrisburg Academy and in the Lower Dauphin School District.

The college’s nursing students work with the Annville-Cleona School District. 

“The first to utilize the model was Pinnacle and doing the Harrisburg city schools,” said Judy Dillon, the director of community health for Penn State Health.

“The wonder and joy as kids looked around and could see things for the first time, just made my heart jump,” said Abrom. 

Thursday, students will go to the Lebanon Free Clinic to get glasses free of charge. 

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