Baptist Health Brings Healthcare Clinics to Schools in Underserved Areas of Jax

Thank you to Baptist Health Jacksonville and Wolfson Children's Hospital for sponsoring this post.

It’s a sad reality, but only 4 percent of the adult and child population in the 32208 and 32209 ZIP codes of Jacksonville has seen a primary-care doctor. Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Baptist Health are combating the situation  by bringing much-needed healthcare to school children in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

In a news conference on Thursday, elected officials, school administrators and hospital representatives announced the new establishment of Wolfson Children’s school-based health centers on the northwest side of town. The clinics located inside Jean Ribault Middle School and Jean Ribault High School will provide students with easy access to a wide range of healthcare services including vaccinations, physical exams, flu treatments and the management of chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes.

A pediatric clinic housed at the Ribault Family Resource Center will be available starting Feb. 9 for children throughout Duval County, including those residing in the 32208 and 32209 ZIP codes.

The clinics are part of a larger initiative to bring primary medical care to children in areas of Jacksonville, where few private physicians have offices or accept Medicaid. Even though many children have a doctor’s name on their health cards, many have never seen that doctor, Baptist Health officials told

It is imperative that children and families have primary-care doctors to properly monitor their health, which is a better alternative than going to the hospital ER for non-emergencies.

“We looked at the children who came to Wolfson’s emergency room and had no primary care,” said Hugh Greene, president of Baptist Health, which is funding the new clinics. “We’re not talking about the school nurse down the hall. We’re trying to create a clinic where parents can bring their child.”

Regular school nurses are only able to provide limited care, said Christie Johnson, the nurse practitioner who runs the two new school-based clinics.

“A school nurse can provide help with symptoms a student is experiencing,” she said. “They provide a lot of tender loving care if a student scrapes a knee. Now [with the school clinics] we can do much more. We’re going to be able to give extensive health services, providing medical care directly, in the schools.”

Tina Smithers Peckham
Originally from Kansas City, Tina relocated to Jacksonville, FL with her dear husband, feisty cat and sweet-natured corgi mix in 2016. After eight years working various gigs in New York City from magazine publishing to digital marketing, Tina joined the world of freelance, writing and reporting for a variety of publications and websites including MTV News, ET Online, Glamour, Us Weekly and more. Tina has also assisted with social media, editorial and content strategy for brands and personalities such as Britney Spears, Jordin Sparks, Beauty Brands, truTV and WE tv. When she’s not plugging away on her laptop, she can be found exploring the Jacksonville beaches, reading a good book or enjoying a local coffee shop with her cherub-cheeked little boys, Archer and Austin.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here