Each year, our international Health Check Team, local St Jude’s staff and interns work hard to ensure every facet of our students’ wellbeing is cared for.
Their long history at St Jude’s has seen many of these volunteer members return time and time again to provide invaluable service. The team listens to health concerns raised by students and their teachers and provide the expertise needed to identify potential health problems that may interfere with learning.
Team leader and student sponsor Dr Philippa Binns, who has been part of the team for the past eight years, has continued to facilitate the two-week process. She is happy to see the school continue to assist families of students with conditions that require further management by appropriate local health care providers.
This year, the team had counselling expertise and the ability to screen hearing, in addition to the usual routine eyesight, height, weight and general health checks.
“The objective of counselling is to enhance student wellbeing and, in enhancing student wellbeing, you’re going to enhance the academic performance,” social worker Dan Baschiera said.
Dan, a student sponsor with almost 40 years’ experience as a social worker, came to St Jude’s last year and completed a needs assessment.
“The teachers here (at St Jude’s) have very good collective care skills, and the training I’ve been doing this year has been to enhance this awareness,” he said.
Dan also identified a need to secure continued access to student counselling services and a local mental health facility with which St Jude’s student wellbeing would be enhanced by strengthened ties.
Meanwhile, when teacher for the deaf and student sponsor Glenys Abrahams visited St Jude’s in 2016 and discovered the health checks did not include formal hearing loss screening, she saw an area she could help with.
“When I was last here I spoke to Gemma and, and she put me in touch with Dr Pip so I discussed it with her, and it’s now being piloted this year,” she said.
She reached out to her network to find the necessary equipment for testing, and throughout the past fortnight, Glenys and her colleagues have screened all students in Grade 1 and Form 1, as well as those students where they or their teacher have been concerned about their hearing.
The visiting team of 20 employed their skills to ensure the health and wellbeing of our primary and secondary students. Not only were students’ mental and audio welfare checked, but experts in general medicine, orthoptics, physiotherapy, nursing and even a paramedicine student, also ensured their skills were put to good use. They were ably assisted by St Jude’s staff, including recently graduated interns.
Many thanks to: Doctors Philippa Binns (team leader), Philip Bookallil, Craig Boutlis, Jenny Davis, Catherine Foley, Lee Wuen Meakin, Gordon Mor; Orthoptists Emily Burnham, Kylie Robinson, Julie Taylor, Kahina Terbah; Hearing check members Glenys Abrahams (teacher for the deaf) and June Jorgensen (teacher); Counsellors Dan Baschiera (social worker), Nina van Breugel (social worker) and Janene Hill (school psychologist); Helpers Nichola Heagney (bachelor of paramedicine student), Jane Larkin (physiotherapist), Belinda Lock (nurse) and John Mor (logistician). We hope you enjoyed your visit and we appreciate your work!