Healthy Learners provides students in 14 school districts across South Carolina with access to essential medical, dental and vision care so that they have the opportunity to reach their full potential. In 2022, Healthy Learners served more than 2,200 students, who received 11,000 health services from 240 providers. Staff members traveled 77,000 miles transporting children to their medical appointments.
Ja'Shawn is one of those thousands of students served. His story appeared in the most recent Healthy Learners newsletter, which is available here. The edited text of his story is below.
Healthy Learners met Ja'Shawn through a referral from the school nurse. He was struggling to focus on school due to tooth pain. From his initial visit, it was discovered that he had five cavities. Three of his teeth with the cavities were rotting and needed to be extracted, and the two others needed fillings.
Getting Ja'Shawn to the dentist and getting the work needed would not be easy. His father was legally blind, suffering from degenerative eye disease, and his mother's work schedule was challenging to coordinate with. They also were struggling to make ends meet for their family and needed help.
Healthy Learners met with Ja'Shawn's dad and helped him apply for Medicaid in South Carolina for all three of his sons, then coordinated with a partner dental provider to get Ja'Shawn and his two other brothers
scheduled to see a dentist. Healthy Learners transported the boys from school, and made sure everything was set for Ja'Shawn and his brothers to receive care.
Ja'Shawn got the three rotten teeth "wiggled out" by the dentist in early October and got his fillings done later that month. In November, Ja'Shawn completed a regular cleaning to make sure all is well and will begin regular prevention care. Hi is now able to learn pain free.
Ja'Shawn is just one of thousands of children in South Carolina who struggle with a health barrier to learning.
Healthy Learners is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.
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