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Philadelphia, PA (October 13, 2014) Universal Companies, one of the nation's largest community and housing development organizations based in Philadelphia, which also manages eight public charters schools has partnered with Education-Plus, Inc. and National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC), a Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) affiliate organization implements the city of Philadelphia's first School Based Health Centers in its family of schools.

Fully staffed with a Clinical Director, Nurse Practitioner and Medical Assistant, the School Based Health Center networks will operate in all eight of Universal Family of Schools – Audenried, Vare, Alcorn Middle Years, Alcorn Elementary, Universal Institute Charter School, Creighton, Bluford and Daroff with a goal to improve the academic outcomes of students through improved health care and wellness. The aim is to keep the Universal scholars healthy and ready to learn, while maximizing quality seat time, which is of the utmost importance. President/CEO of Universal Companies, Rahim Islam stated, "Our commitment to the community is to challenge some of the issues that impact the academic success of our scholars, health being number #1 on the list of priorities to address. This is the beginning of a holistic strategy to strengthen our neighborhoods."

A Universal scholar may be seen at the Health Centers for normal school nurse conditions such as first aid or required medication. The benefit of having a Nurse Practitioner is that primary care services can also be offered, as well as chronic disease management such as care for asthma and diabetes. On-site diagnosis and treatment eliminates the need for a scholar to leave or miss school and have a parent or caregiver take off from work.

As part of the partnership with Universal, Education-Plus, Inc., NNCC and PHMC are instrumental in ensuring the Centers provide high quality state mandated screenings for related quality care coordination, high impact disease management and acute sick care for decreased absenteeism and comprehensive routine well-child care including immunizations and reproductive health care for prevention, health education and quality care coordination. "Our collective partnership with Universal will help provide hundreds of Philadelphia students with high-quality, accessible and affordable primary health care by nurse practitioners, resulting in healthier student populations and a decrease in school absences due to health," said Tine Hansen-Turton, PHMC's Chief Strategy Officer and CEO of the National Nursing Centers Consortium.

"This collaboration brings the capacity to impact almost 5000 children and youth. Research shows that academic achievement is directly tied to children's health, and we are very excited to bring this well-evidenced model to scale in Philadelphia," said Julie Cousler, Executive Director of Education-Plus, Inc.

"The opening of the Universal School-Based Health Centers will provide Universal Scholars with direct access to necessary health care services. Many of our scholars are uninsured or underinsured so the Health Centers offer the scholars a gateway to care that they may not otherwise receive. Universal is committed to this effort because we understand that the health and well-being of our scholars play an important role in their ability to learn," added Dr. Penny Nixon, Sr. Executive VP of Education.

Over the last four years, Universal has been awarded seven public schools that were converted to independent charter schools: Universal Alcorn, Universal Alcorn Middle Years, Universal Bluford, Universal Daroff Charter Elementary Schools, Universal Creighton, Universal Vare Middle School and Universal Audenried High School. By all accounts, Universal continues to make progress and has begun the path to transform these schools by improving academic performance, increasing student attendance as well as significantly reducing disruptive behavior.
The Universal Education mission is to provide a rich and high quality education for every scholar that prepares them
individually for college, the workforce, technical school, or to become entrepreneurs. Universal scholars will be well prepared to pursue sustainable careers in the 21st century and to contribute to the transformation of their communities as future leaders and positive members of society.
The health center model currently and/or in the past has been supported by local health insurers, IGN Foundation, the Public Health Fund, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, McLean Contributionship and The Patricia Kind Family Foundation.

Universal Companies' ultimate goal with the School Based Health Centers are to dramatically decrease absenteeism; increase academic performance and run full-fledged community health centers for its scholars and families.
To learn more about Universal Companies and its Family of Schools, feel free to visit the official website or call (215) 732-6518.

About Universal
Universal Companies is a not for profit community development and education management corporation formed under the direction of one of Philadelphia's greatest talents, world-renowned lyricist, composer, producer, Mr. Kenneth Gamble – who continues to serve as Chairman and Rahim Islam. Since 1993, Universal has built the capacity to challenge and reverse the effects of urban decline and has become one of the largest and most successful community revitalization movements in the history of the city of Philadelphia. Working in twelve Philadelphia neighborhoods and several cities, Universal has built more than 1,500 units of affordable and market rate housing and currently manages 10 K-12 charter schools, eight in the city of Philadelphia and two in Milwaukee, WI with nearly 5,000 students enrolled. Since its inception Universal has been a conduit for over $1 billion of urban investment and employs nearly 500 professionals with expertise in education, real estate, urban planning, finance, social services and preventative health.
About Education-Plus, Inc.
Education-Plus, Inc and its EducationPlusHealth division is a non-profit organization that scales high impact healthcare and education models. For more information, visit

About National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC)
A critical supporter of nurse-managed health clinics in the United States, National Nursing Centers Consortium works to advance nurse-led health care through policy, consultation, programs and applied research to reduce health disparities and meet people's primary care and wellness needs. The nation's 500 nurse-managed health clinics reduce health disparities by providing high quality comprehensive primary health care, health promotion and disease prevention services to uninsured, underinsured and vulnerable patients in rural, urban and suburban communities. For more information on NNCC, visit NNCC is an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct services, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce. PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC visit

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