The people who helped to make a school-based health center possible in the Southfield Public School District pause for a photo.

The people who helped to make a school-based health center possible in the Southfield Public School District pause for a photo.

Photo provided by Artina Dozier-Gage

Stevenson Elementary partners with Authority Health for new health center

By: Kathryn Pentiuk | Southfield Sun | Published August 10, 2023


SOUTHFIELD — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Child and Adolescent Health Center program is providing Adlai Stevenson Elementary School with a $180,000 grant to partner with Authority Health to open a Child and Adolescent Health Center within the Southfield Public Schools district.

“We are excited about this partnership with Authority Health as it aligns perfectly with our mission to provide exceptional educational experiences while nurturing the physical and emotional well-being of our students,” Jennifer Green, the superintendent of Southfield Public Schools, said in a press release. “The health center will serve as a valuable resource, not only for our students’ immediate health needs but also for promoting long-term wellness habits.”

The center will open this month and will operate through the school year before Adlai Stevenson Elementary temporarily moves to another location within the district for the 2024-25 school year while its building is undergoing construction.

“So Stevenson already had in its DNA, if you will, the concept that students needed health and wellness, and they had a vision for that,” Loretta Bush, the president and CEO of Authority Health, stated. “So, they had a small space. That space is where we will move into come September; it’s a temporary space, so we’ve made modifications to make it suitable for a physical and behavioral health space.”

She added that when they return to the newly renovated building, specifications will be added to the clinic, including an entrance separate from the school for patients who are not students, as the center will also serve siblings, as well as children and adolescents in the community.

“School-based health centers have been around since the early ’80s. We are pleased to be able to start our second one now at Stevenson. Our first one is in the city of Detroit. School-based clinics were established with the concept that they will help to promote not only health equity but also educational equity,” Bush stated.

According to Bush, students often have a high rate of absences due to chronic conditions that they or their parents may have, so an in-school health center can help manage that by connecting families to health coverage. It reduces absences because students are connected with primary care, so they do not have to miss an entire day of class, and their parent doesn’t have to miss work for a doctor’s visit.

In addition to helping patients manage chronic diseases like asthma and diabetes, it also provides vaccines, comprehensive health assessments, vision and hearing screenings, medications, and behavioral health help.

The manager of the new health center, Brandi Lagodzinski, emphasized the need for health services in the area.

“In Oakland County, there’s one primary care physician to every 690 people. So Authority Health is pleased to be the first to provide integrated medical and behavioral school-based health services to elementary school students in the Southfield school district.”

The staff at the health center will include a nurse practitioner, a medical assistant, a behavioral health provider and Lagodzinski as the practice manager. The clinic has the capacity to serve 15-20 students a day. Students will be allowed one visit with verbal consent from a parent, and then a written consent form must be filled out annually by their parent to continue to use the center. Walk-ins are welcome, or appointments can be made over the phone or through a website. Telehealth appointments can also be made.

For more information, visit