Wayne Initiative for School Health (WISH) Receives Grant to Continue Serving Local Children
In 1996 Wayne County leaders were facing a major challenge: how to care for one of North Carolina’s highest county-wide populations of uninsured school-aged children. With a $495,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Making the Grade Program, Wayne Initiative for School Health (WISH) was born.
Through WISH, a nonprofit partnership among Wayne UNC Health Care, the county schools and community organizations, Wayne UNC Health Care nurse practitioners and nurses now provide individualized care to thousands of local middle and high school students in six on-site health centers.
“Our WISH centers were designed to help close the gaps that exist in adolescent health care, and they are doing exactly that,” said WISH Director Phyllis Hill. “Many of the students we serve would not otherwise have access to comprehensive health care services such as medical, nutritional, behavioral and preventative health services.”
WISH’s successful run in the Wayne County Public Schools hasn’t gone unnoticed. As the nonprofit has continued to grow to meet the needs of our community, it has also received attention at both the state and national levels as a model for school-based care that works. This year North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCHHS) announced it would provide nearly $800,000 in funding for the next three years.
Funding is contingent upon both availability of funds and compliance with the requirements and assurances contained in contracts resulting from the grant application. This funding will support WISH’s ongoing operations in local public schools. This grant is part of the critical mix of state, local and external grant dollars that comprise WISH’s annual budget.
Dr. David Tayloe Jr., local pediatrician with Goldsboro Pediatrics and WISH Medical Director and Chairman of the Board, said WISH has been able to be very effective in providing care to adolescents in part because, with parental consent, the team is able to consult directly with patients and spend more direct time in dealing with adolescent health issues.
At Wayne UNC Health Care, we are committed to expanding health care access to those in our community who need it most. Our partnership with WISH is one important way we further our mission, putting patients first and providing the quality care they deserve.