Boosting Health and Education Through School-Based Health Centers



School-based health centers (SBHC) improve not only students’ health, but also their ability to learn. MG has been proud to support SBHCs for years.

Our work began with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s School-based Healthcare Policy Program, which secured federal funding to increase SBHCs. Now, we’re working with the Center For School, Health and Education at the American Public Health Association to establish SBHCs as an essential strategy to knock down barriers that stand in the way of graduation—significant issues like poverty, hunger, bullying and violence, depression and more.

The Center recently launched a professional development program to help SBHC leaders take a “public health approach,” addressing the root causes of health and social challenges in addition to providing primary care to individual students in the clinic. As part of this program, MG’s Maria Elena Campisteguy is leading sessions on partnership development and effective communication to support SBHCs in this work.

Here’s a real-world example of a “public health approach” in a school-based health center: A student comes in with breathing troubles. Center clinicians provide medication to open his airways, then look for what’s causing the problem. The student’s home might be cold and damp, infested with bugs, or without electricity to power his nebulizer. Using this insight, SBHC staff members could advocate with the local health department to provide home services or with the housing authority to identify better living options. Taking a public health approach empowers SBHCs to treat the cause rather than repeatedly treating symptoms—and to set students up for success in school and in life.

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