October 4, 2018Medical students assist with health screenings of Tuscaloosa school children as part of the pediatrics clinical rotation at The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences. Each year through the pre-K Partnership, UA School of Medicine students completing their third and fourth years of medical education at CCHS assist in providing basic exams, blood tests and hearing screenings at Tuscaloosa City Schools from September through the first week of November. All screenings are attended by Dr. Heather Taylor, associate professor of pediatrics for CCHS who directs the rotation, or a nurse practitioner from the UA Capstone College of Nursing. They check any abnormal health findings and make recommendations for follow-up care. The Tuscaloosa City Schools District then sends letters to parents with information about their children’s health and referrals to physicians, dentists and social workers, as needed. “This is a unique opportunity for us to collaborate with multiple different organizations in a project that hopefully improves the health of the children we serve,” said Taylor, who also cares for patients at University Medical Center. CCHS, which operates UMC, also functions as the School of Medicine’s Tuscaloosa Regional Campus. This year, screenings will be conducted at 11 schools and more than 500 pre-K children are expected to participate, Taylor said. Parents opt in to the different components of each screening, which offers physical exams, blood pressure checks, dental, vision and hearing screenings, as well as lab screenings for glucose, cholesterol and anemia. The pre-K Partnership is a collaborative effort of CCHS, UA Office of Service Learning, Tuscaloosa City Schools System, Tuscaloosa’s Mayor’s Office, UA Capstone College of Nursing and Shelton State’s Nursing Program.