SMART Student Health and Wellness Model Expands to Gordo Schools for Fall 2019 Opening

 In Press Releases

SMART Student Health and Wellness Model Expands to Gordo Schools for Fall 2019 Opening
CVS Health, Pickens County Primary Care, Aramark, and Ginn Group Collaborative Commit to Fund Expansion, 1,500 More Students and Faculty Reached

Pictured at the SMART information and clinic consent table during Gordo Elementary School’s registration are: Dr. John Brandon, SMART Contracted Preceptor; Kim Taylor, SMART Utilization Manager; Amanda Newman, SMART Operations Support Services at Gordo Schools; Dr. Yolima Moncada, Director of SMART Clinical Operations; and Juan Pablo Sanchez, SMART Business Development Manager.

Gordo, Ala. — Pickens County Primary Care and Ginn Group Collaborative (GGC) are pleased to announce two new SMART Clinics opening at Gordo High School to serve PK–12 students. The extraordinary success of the existing SMART Clinics at Reform Elementary (RES) and Pickens County High School (PCHS) combined with an outpouring of requests from parents, students, and district leadership helped to bring about this expansion, which will reach an additional 1,500 students, their families, and faculty and staff of both schools, playing a key role in the SMART Model’s rural health focus. All stakeholders worked diligently together on the applications, processes, credentialing, hiring, and training needed for the SMART Clinics to open when school started August 7.

The expansion is made possible, in part, through an additional financial commitment of $250,000 from CVS Health (CVSH), the SMART Model’s Legacy Sponsor, Ginn Group Collaborative, the SMART Model’s Architect, and Dr. Julia Boothe’s Pickens County Primary Care, the SMART medical provider partner. Efforts include investing in the renovation of existing clinic space in both schools, hiring and training of new clinic staff, and continuing the partnership with the University of Alabama, whose School of Social Work provides Master of Social Work interns completing field work in the SMART Clinics.

“As a family physician, I knew that the SMART Model’s daily capacity to reach our children at school, as a population, with a focus on wellness to improve educational outcomes, was a game-changer for supporting the community,” stated Dr. Boothe.

Superintendent of Pickens County Schools, Jamie Chapman, campaigned for the Gordo clinics’ opening following the success of the SMART Student Health and Wellness Clinics at RES and PCHS. “It’s not often that you come across a solution that reaches such a large percentage of the students. The results speak for themselves, in terms of the tremendous outcomes we have seen in just one year of SMART operations. We’ve seen head-turning numbers here.” said Chapman.

As Dr. Hlebowitsh, Dean of the College of Education at University of Alabama, noted after visiting the SMART Clinics at RES and PCHS, “The SMART Clinics are a beacon of light, a positive force attracting students and teachers alike, and thus activating teachers’ capacity to be active advocates for their students, giving them a place to go with their observations and knowledge.”

After only 6 months of SMART operations in Pickens County, the powerful effect the rural SMART Clinics have had includes a 55% drop in chronic absenteeism at RES, and, at PCHS, a 28% drop in absenteeism, a 35% drop in tardies, and a projected 4% graduation increase, according to data tracked using, eTHOS, the SMART Model’s Knowledge Management System. Both SMART Clinics have consented 99–89% of the students in those schools, respectively, and engaged with 99% of those consented students by utilizing the SMART Model’s signature Active Access to Active Care practice, a dramatically changed strategy for impact and vital component of the SMART Model.

Ernie DuPont, Senior Director Workforce Initiatives of CVSH, praised these “fantastic early numbers” affirming the SMART Model’s rapid results. “At CVS Health, we believe that every young person has unique potential waiting to be unlocked. SMART collaborates with educators to help put every student on a solid foundation and enables them to determine the path they will choose to walk.”

SMART was brought to Alabama, and piloted in Pickens County, at the invitation of Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh and University of Alabama Associate Dean, Dr. Karl Hamner, who continue to provide strong support for the model and its positive results.

Due to high utilization of the SMART Clinic at PCHS, a former home economics space is being renovated allow for a greater capacity to serve students.

SMART Model Architect Melanie Ginn stated, “These amazing local relationships, additional renovations, and new expansion to Gordo Schools demonstrate how we are building legacy in these sites and ensuring that the SMART Clinics will always be there for these students and as integral part of their schools.”

The SMART Model is the embodiment of the educational sector’s realization that teaching has become a “Whole Child” movement. This framework and Whole Child, Whole School approach immediately destigmatize the seeking and receipt of care for children and adults by inviting all in the building to trust and engage with the SMART Transformation Teams—the SMART Clinic staff.

There is ample evidence that poor health in childhood and adolescence is associated with higher risk of dropping out of high school. High school dropouts are more likely to be unemployed when compared against high school graduates, thus SMART’s impacting graduation rates directly impacts the cycle of poverty.


About Ginn Group Collaborative

Ginn Group Collaborative (GGC), led by President and CEO Melanie Ginn, is a nationally recognized design management firm with a proven track record in delivering exceptional outcomes and incisive analysis for clients. GGC brings objective and insightful perspective and expertise to review, research, develop, and deliver advanced business and legal analysis, strategies, and solutions. Learn more at

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