Free UNLV clinic expands healthcare access for east Las Vegas students

Students at three east valley schools now have access to free healthcare services on-site at William H. Bailey Middle School.
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 12:47 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Students at three east valley schools now have access to free healthcare services on-site at William H. Bailey Middle School.

The Bailey Clinic is one of two clinics serving Clark County kids as part of a two-year pilot program through the UNLV School of Medicine.

Bailey Middle School was chosen as the site of the free health clinic after a community assessment showed an urgent need for their services.

“The closest pediatrician’s over six miles away from Bailey Middle School, so there are not as many pediatricians to be able to get to, there’s no interstate access that’s easy here, transportation’s a barrier, finances,” said a pediatric nurse practitioner Pamela Girgis.

The clinic offers a variety of services, including physical exams needed to play sports, vaccines required for class, and resources for other health issues.

Students and their siblings can receive care there Mondays and Wednesdays at no cost to the families.

“I know without that, they’re going to have this fear or stigma of the healthcare system, and then without these services, they wouldn’t be able to access care at all, so kids may perform badly in school, they’re going to have headaches,” said Girgis.

“Sometimes they have to go to a different doctor’s office or Southern Nevada Health District to get those shots, which can take weeks or a month, and they miss that much school,” said Danielle Duterte, Principal at Bailey Middle School.

The Bailey Clinic opened in August, and at first, it was only serving students at Bailey Middle School. Last month, the services expanded to include students at Sunrise Mountain High School and Hickey Elementary School.

But the long process to open up and the limited reach of the clinic have been frustrating for some, who say the need for these free services extends far past the three schools.

“Like Helen Herr down the street has some of the same needs, Brookman is a little further down as you get closer to Charleston, so it shouldn’t just serve the three schools, but it’s okay as we build up to it. But serving one for months, for almost half a year after waiting three and a half years is ridiculous,” said Ed Gonzalez, a community member of the Hickey Elementary School Organizational Team.

Looking to the future of expanding these services to other schools and communities, Gonzalez said the process needs to be more efficient because kids can’t afford to wait.

“Kids need these services,” he said. “This is affecting kids and their education, and if we’re taking years to open up something, then that’s kids not learning well for years because we don’t have the support systems for them to learn, and that’s everywhere.”