For more information contact: Boonshoft School of Medicine, Judi Engle, Office of Public Relations, (937) 775-2951

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2001

Is Your Pre-school Child Ready to Enter School?

DAYTON, OHIO--How prepared is your four-year-old to enter school? Elvira Jaballas, M.D., will soon be able to help some parents answer that question with a grant provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The 'Community Access to Child Health' planning fund grant, supported by Wyeth Lederle Vaccines and the AAP 'Friends of Children Fund,' was given to Wright State's Center for Healthy Communities to create better access to health care for Dayton's children. "A healthy child is a better learner," says Jaballas. "It is critical that our children are immunized, have had a physical exam, are developmentally ready to start school, and have a medical home."

Jaballas, an associate professor for pediatrics and an assistant professor for family medicine at Wright State University School of Medicine, along with Kate Cauley, Ph.D., director for the Center for Healthy Communities, Dorothy Clark, R.N., and Carla Clasen, R.N., intend to focus on pre-school children who enroll in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program of the Dayton Public Schools (DPS).

Typically the children are four years old. Over 75% of them come from families living in poverty and over 40% enter the program at least two years developmentally delayed. In the Dayton community the majority of children of school age attend the DPS and the children enrolled into the ECE program represent 25% of kindergarten enrollees in a given year.

Jaballas will try to establish an integrated system of primary care services for these children with the long-term goal of insuring that all children who enroll in the ECE program have access to and use primary health care services.

Current research identifies several barriers to health care for school-age children. Barriers to be addressed will be:

* Lack of knowledge (many community members are unaware of resources that are available)
* Mis-information that one can only qualify for Medicaid benefits if one is enrolled in the temporary assistance to needy families
* Limited experience with health care services
* Lack of going to a doctor except when extremely ill or injured
* Lack of access to transportation
* Lack of regular telephone service
* Lack of trust, and
* Reluctance to seek services except in an emergency

For more information on the planning of the program, contact: Center for Healthy Communities at (937) 775-1114.