W.I.S.H. was developed in the late 1990’s to respond to the overwhelming number of children in Wayne County who did not have health insurance. Duke Endowment contacted Wayne Memorial Hospital about starting a program to ensure that these children received the healthcare they needed. Dr. Tayloe was then contacted by the hospital to get the Wayne Initiative for School Health, or W.I.S.H. program, started.
The overall objective of W.I.S.H. is to provide a range of health care services to students who might not have access to them otherwise. Placement of the “WISH Centers” is largely based on the need of the students at various schools. In order to effectively reach many of the uninsured children and adolescents, health centers were set up at some of the schools where the need for such a program was the greatest. The program began with health centers at two county schools and eventually grew to six. Today, Brodgen Middle School, Dillard Middle School, Goldsboro Intermediate School, Mt. Olive Middle School, Goldsboro High School, and Southern Wayne High School all have fully operating W.I.S.H. centers on campus. Students at these participating schools are given consent forms to be signed by their parents so that they may receive care from the staff at the W.I.S.H. center. Because the W.I.S.H. centers are not-for-profit organizations, they do not turn away any students because of lack of health insurance or lack of payment.
Each W.I.S.H. center location is open every day that school is in session, during school hours. Goldsboro Pediatrics serves as the on-call pediatric practice for the W.I.S.H. centers, assisting students with their medical needs after hours or on weekends. The centers are run by a medical director, and are staffed full-time with registered nurses, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, and mental health counselors. This team of healthcare providers is licensed to give medical evaluations, diagnose minor injuries and illnesses, update immunizations, provide counseling and mental health services, and perform routine dental screenings. In addition to these primary healthcare services, the W.I.S.H. centers bring in registered dieticians and other health educators from partnering organizations to provide information to students about healthy eating habits, stress management, substance abuse prevention, routine exercise, the important of abstinence, and other issues that are relevant to adolescents and teens.
W.I.S.H. Centers are made possible through a combination of public and private funds and donations. In addition to the contributions made to the W.I.S.H. program by Goldsboro Pediatrics, the following organizations help to make this worthy cause possible: Wayne County Public Schools, Wayne Memorial Hospital, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Wayne County Health Department, Wayne County Department of Social Services, Communities in Schools, and Wayne County Commissioners.