Maplewood and Ascension Celebrate Clinic

Maplewood High School, Ascension Saint Thomas Celebrates Impact of Primary Care Clinic
Posted on 09/16/2021
Maplewood clinic

Maplewood High School staff, students and MNPS officials celebrated the fourth anniversary of their partnership with Ascension Saint Thomas and their onsite community health clinic this morning. Students were also recognized for choosing the school’s Health Science pathway.

Ascension Saint Thomas’s full-service primary care clinic on Maplewood’s campusprincipal provides care to community members and learning opportunities for students in the school’s Academy of Health and Electrical Services who are considering careers in health care. Family medicine doctors and care teams are available four days a week at the facility.

“This is not just a clinic intended for a particular subset,” Ascension Saint Thomas chief mission integration officer Gregg Pope said. “This clinic is for everybody — it’s for this community. We love Maplewood. We are a family.”

Speakers at the event also included Maplewood Principal Sonya Brooks; Board of Education member Emily Masters, who represents the Maplewood area; MNPS’s director of the Academies of Nashville, Jennifer Bell; Maplewood academy coach Brent Dean; and Maplewood and Belmont University graduate Damisha Harris.

The clinic benefits not only the community but also students by allowing hands-on learning that shows Academy students what their future could look like in health care. Former student Damisha Harris saw that future and made it her reality.

When she was a freshman in high school, Harris and her family lived at the Salvation Army. As the child of a single mom, Harris spent much of her time caring for her siblings, leaving little time for studies in the daylight hours. Despite the lack ofstudent grad stability at home, Harris remained committed to her school work and decided to become the first college graduate and doctor in her family.

During her time at Maplewood, Harris considered transferring to MNPS’ Early College High School, a program that fast-tracks college degrees free of charge. But Maplewood’s principal at the time begged her to stay, promising he would help her get a full ride to college. After some back and forth, she decided to stay and see where the program could take her.

“My amazing teachers and principal planted a seed in my life that led me to be one of those lucky 13 students who were awarded the Bridges to Belmont Scholarships. The road might not be easy, but you can do anything you put your mind to,” Harris said. “You deserve everything the world has to offer, so go and take it.”

Harris is not the only success story of these programs; many students move on to rewarding college and health care careers. Graduates work in Nashville and beyond as doctors, nurses and administrators, thanks to early exposure to the field and community partner relationships.

“We no longer use the word partners, we are talking about families,” Bell said. “Through Academy partnerships like this, students are getting opportunities that many others don’t have, like going into real health labs. I tell students, know your why, and never let anyone get in the way of your why.” Maplewood clinic celebration

In addition to Maplewood’s options, students have a choice of 35 different academies within MNPS’ 12 neighborhood high schools, offering the same practical, hands-on approach to learning in fields that interest them, ranging from engineering to communications. More than 365 business and community partners support the district’s Academy programs.

“It’s just such a wonderful collaboration, and this work is at the heart of MNPS and our Every Student Known initiative,” Masters said. “Students can figure out what they want for their lives and for their future. I am amazed by all of the work that is taking place here, and I thank you all for being a part of it.”


Archive News