Tuesday August 29, 2017
AccessMatters is beyond disappointed in the outcome of the Reading School Board vote against a Health Resource Center at Reading High School ("Health program at RHS rejected," Reading Eagle, Aug. 24). AccessMatters proudly stands by the effectiveness of the Health Resource Center program and was ready to present data to this effect to the school board on multiple occasions only to be removed from the agenda without warning.
Our Health Resource Center Program has operated in Philadelphia since the early 1990s, later expanded to Chester and has recently expanded across Pennsylvania in counties with demonstrated need. With more than 20 years of service delivery experience, we are pleased to share marked improvement in recent indicators related to this work.
According to the Philadelphia Department of Health, between 2010 and 2013, teen birth rates in ZIP codes with a Health Resource Center decreased by an average of 38 percent, while the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported rates declined nationwide by 22 percent. While chlamydia rates for youth increased nationwide between 2010-2015, rates in ZIP codes with a Health Resource Center declined by an average of 18 percent.
We are saddened that politics stood in the way of access to accurate health information and education for Reading teens. With the health of Reading students as our primary concern, we will move forward continuing to advocate for this important service.
Melissa Weiler Gerber
President and CEO, AccessMatters
School board vote disappoints agency