Tuesday, March 18, 2008

“There's Unity in Our Community” The Hillsborough County Back to School Physicals & Immunization Fairs

Margaret Ewen, Immunization Program, Hillsborough County Health Department, 1105 E.Kennedy Boulevard, P.O. Box 5135, Tampa, FL, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to learn how a community can partner together to provide a service to meet the requirements of a Florida Statute.

School physical examination is required within one year of entrance to a Florida school
in accordance with F.S. 1003.22. Immunizations required for grade level are to be documented on the Florida Certification of Immunization form, DH 680. The Hillsborough Back to School Coalition's mission is that no child shall miss one day of school due to the lack of immunizations and a physical examination.

Public Schools and community centers

The goal of the coalition is to provide free physicals and immunizations to any Hillsborough child entering a Florida School for the first time.

Project Description:
The Back to School Coalition, chaired by the Hillsborough County Health Dept.'s Immunization Program Manager, meets regularly to plan and coordinate free physicals and immunizations for three consecutive Saturdays prior to the start of each school year. Volunteers, both professional and non professional, are recruited from private and public entities to help with each Saturday's event. There are 7 sites located around the county. Donated backpacks and school supplies are also provided to each student.

Results/Lessons Learned:
The coalition, starting out with only four sites, has been in existence for four years. Interest grew throughout the county within County Government, Schools, and private sectors. Two more sites were opened the 2nd year and another site the 3rd year. Approximately 200 to 1500 clients receive service at these events. The impact of having these free services has reduced the number of clients filling our Health Dept. clinics each year and eliminating the wait time for an appointment at a Pediatrician's office after school has started.