District 3 Metro school board member Emily Masters at Maplewood clinic celebration

Metro Nashville Board of Education member Emily Masters talks to a crowd of students and community members at the celebration of Maplewood High School and Ascension Saint Thomas’ on-campus clinic at a Thursday celebration of its fourth anniversary.

Maplewood High School and Ascension Saint Thomas celebrated its on-campus community clinic’s fourth year of operation Thursday as students, faculty, staff and district leaders gathered to commemorate its years of service.

The clinic opened at the school four years ago as part of the Tennessee Pathways program. Ascension Saint Thomas partnered with Maplewood to open the clinic at the school and create an on-campus opportunity for students to learn about health care and gain certifications.

Maplewood High Principal Sonya Brooks said they were glad to have the resource to help their students and local families, and that Thursday’s event was not only a celebration, but a way to remind and bring awareness to the community of the clinic and its services.

“They have access to health care right here in their community, and that’s what we want to show today,” Brooks said.

The clinic, run by Ascension Saint Thomas, covers a wide variety of medical needs, including women’s health services. Brooks said they can help people whether they have a cold or need help navigating their pregnancy.

Clinic manager Jesus Rios said the clinic sees roughly 200 visitors per month.

“We have a full schedule,” he said. “We’ve had a full schedule since the beginning of the year.”

The clinic is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday for medical services, with a half-day on Friday to handle administrative work and customer support.

Brooks noted that anyone in the community can schedule an appointment online through the Ascension Saint Thomas website. Rios said the clinic can provide heavily discounted services for uninsured patients through Ascension Saint Thomas’ financial assistance programs.

Brent Dean, an academy coach at Maplewood, lauded the partnership’s impact on students as well. For four years, the clinic has provided a space where students can safely learn about health care without leaving campus, he said.

Those learning opportunities and trainings for academy classes often transition into national certifications after a certain amount of time in the clinic, Dean said.

He also credited Maplewood teachers for taking full advantage of the partnership and helping students get the most from it.

“It definitely takes a village to see these programs come to fruition, and so our teachers are the main component of that,” he said. “Because we have so many good teachers, we’re able to see such good efforts.”

Metro Nashville Board of Education member Emily Masters, whose district covers Maplewood High, called the clinic a “wonderful collaboration.” She praised it, and similar projects centered around getting students into careers out of high school, for being something that can get students out of bed in the morning, knowing why they are going to school and how it’s helping them actively.

“We want every student to have the opportunity to get up and go to school every morning knowing that you’re working to achieve what it is you want for yourself, and for your life,” she said.

Rios said seeing the clinic grow to its current capacity and help prepare students for a medical career has been a journey. He’s been with the clinic since the start, he said, and watching it grow from a brand-new space to one with a full schedule has been rewarding.

He said the community, especially adolescents and younger adults and families, has really embraced the resource.

“It’s been a really beautiful transition from the first year,” he said.

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