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Brookfield Doctor Lends Helping Hand To School-Based Health Clinics

Dr. Robin Appleby
Dr. Robin Appleby Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

BROOKFIELD, Conn. — A Brookfield doctor joined his family at Norwalk High School on Friday to present a donation to the health care facility founded by his father, the late Dr. Robert Appleby, a beloved pediatrician and philanthropist.

Dr. Robin Appleby and his wife, Susan Hagan-Appleby, of Brookfield were among members of the family who donated $12,000 to the Human Services Council’s Dr. Robert E. Appleby School Based Health Centers.

The centers provide free health care services to students who attend Norwalk Public Schools.

Since they were started, thousands of students have turned to the health center for caring, confidential full medical and mental health services at Norwalk High School, Brien McMahon High School and Briggs High School.

The clinic also provides mental health services at Nathan Hale Middle School, Ponus Ridge Middle School and West Rocks Middle School in Norwalk.

“Everyone treats you fairly and makes sure you get the help you need,” a student told staff at the center. The center serves a “tremendous” number of students, according to Norwalk School Based Health Centers Director Carlos Reinoso Jr.

In 2015, the center recorded 6,501 individual and group visits. Of the students who visited the center, 96 percent were able to return to class.

The center also connects students with outside care. In 2015, the center made 1,500 community/family contacts and referrals.

Taking a proactive approach, the center has made 12 classroom presentations. It also offered seven group programs and three youth leadership projects in 2015.

Many students rely on the center for care. In 2015, 17 percent of 50 students surveyed at three high schools that offer in-school health services said they visited the health center more than 20 times.

Students were also overwhelming satisfied with the services provided: 95 percent of students surveyed rated their service as excellent or good.

“The School Based Health Centers have played a very important role in our schools for many years and continue to do great work,” State Sen. Bob Duff said in a statement read at the ceremony. "I also want to thank the Appleby family for their continued support in keeping Dr. Appleby’s legacy alive through their generous donation.”

Appleby’s wife, Marjorie, and family donated to the clinic. They include Ellen Appleby of New York City, and Carol Appleby-Vanko and her husband Dave of Towson, Md., as well as Dr. Robin Appleby and his wife, Susan Hagan-Appleby, of Brookfield.

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