Since 1988 El Rio Health Center has supported the health component of the Sunnyside Teenage Parent Program, which is a mainstreamed program of support services for pregnant and parenting students in the Sunnyside School District. Sunnyside TAPP is described as "mainstreamed" because it provides services to students at their own school, anywhere in the school district (including 2 high schools, an alternative school, and 4 middle schools).
This very successful program takes a multi-disciplinary approach to minimize the impact of pregnancy and parenting on success in school, improve pregnancy outcomes and parenting skills, and to prevent repeat pregnancies. TAPP staff, including a program coordinator/educator, social worker, secretary, daycare providers, and nurse-midwife, work with district staff and other community programs to address the many issues facing pregnant and parenting teens. Prenatal and parenting classes are offered as electives at the high schools, and a DES-certified daycare center is available on the Sunnyside High School campus. School schedules are modified if the student's medical condition requires it.
Barbara Novak is the nurse-midwife employed by El Rio to provide health services for the program. As health coordinator, Barb works with school district staff to identify pregnant, parenting and at-risk students, and then ensures that their health needs are identified and addressed. This might include pregnancy tests, initial prenatal exams, assistance in obtaining on-going prenatal care, and evaluation of episodic health problems. She also provides individual and group preventive health education. Barb meets with students at all high schools and middle schools in the school district, as well as provides reproductive health services at El Rio Southwest Teen Clinic.
As an El Rio health care provider located in the schools, Barb is in a unique position to act as an intermediary between the health care system and teens, who are usually inexperienced and uncomfortable seeking care.
Pregnant or parenting teens living in the Sunnyside School District can contact us for more information.
Any teen in need of reproductive health services can contact the El Rio Teen Clinic for an appointment.