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Interesting Side Story…

May 20, 2010

I’m working on finishing a feature about West Warwick’s Health Hut. It’s a cute name for a school based health clinic.  Kids can get extra services that a typical school nurse can’t offer, like physicals, prescriptions and immunizations.  It’s one of only two school based clinics in the state.  All of the others closed when state funding dried up.

Today I learned one reason for West Warwick Health Hut’s staying power- Ray McKenna.  According to Rosemary Reilly Chammat with the Department of Health, Mckenna was a social worker in the West Warwick schools and he threw all of his energy into convincing parents, teachers, and school administrators that the town needed this clinic.  He even advocated for  school based  health center funding when his program wouldn’t benefit.

Reilly Chammat says it was the enthusiasm from West Warwick’s community that has kept the health hut open despite funding challenges. It’s not difficult to conclude that Ray Mckenna had a lot to do with that passion.

Ray Mckenna passed away on May 9th of this year. His obituary lists the West Warwick school clinic as one of his accomplishments. I’m hoping my feature can mention his contributions to the health hut.

Thanks for the story Rosemary.

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