A new kind of private school: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan combine education and healthcare

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Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan announced the opening of their new K-12 school, “The Primary School,” which will bring education and healthcare together. In a collaboration with the Ravensworth Family Health Center, the school will offer an on-site clinic to provide comprehensive healthcare to students and their families.

“Health and education are closely connected,” stated Zuckerberg in a Facebook post. “When children aren’t healthy, they can’t learn as easily. Many kids and teachers across the country deal with the consequences of poor health in classrooms every day.”

The private school will be located in East Palo Alto, a city which in 1992 was named the “murder capital” of the US. A part of the Silicon Valley, East Palo Alto has struggled with poverty and crime while its neighboring cities have thrived as hundreds of start-up and global technology companies, including Google, Apple, and Facebook, have established their headquarters there.

“There has always been an extreme wealth gap between the affluent and others here, but it is more pronounced with the tech boom,” Stanford University Sociologist Marianne Cooper said to USA Today.

According to a study from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and a 2010 study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality, healthcare disparities increase in areas where income disparities are prevalent.

The goal of the Primary School is to provide holistic, quality healthcare to the families living in the East Palo Alto area by offering healthcare and education from birth to graduation. In some cases, the school will accept students before they are born and offer prenatal care for their families.

In a statement, Chan, pediatrician, former teacher, and CEO of the project, stated, “…we need a better way of caring for and educating our children.”

The school is scheduled to open August 2016 and admission will be free.

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