School-based health centers represent the intersection of health and education.
School-based health centers (SBHCs) are a powerful investment in the health and academic potential of children and adolescents. They provide access to services—primary care, counseling, oral health, reproductive health, healthy eating, active living—that enable children and adolescents to thrive in the classroom and beyond.
Ensuring that students have access to high-quality health care when they need it is the highest priority for SBHCs.
SBHCs provide students access to health care in a location that is safe, convenient, and accessible: their school. They are staffed by licensed professionals with the experience and expertise to deliver quality care that addresses the broad range of concerns that affect students’ healthy development. The services SBHCs deliver improve the social, emotional, and behavioral health of students, as well as minimize the effects of poverty and other adverse experiences on their school success.
“I hear great stories about kids and teens who would miss days and days of school and are now able to be successful. I have had former patients that are in college or have their own families that were in my school health practice and I still hear from them. They say, ‘you made a difference, and I was able to complete school because of you.’” – Patti Scott, Former SBHC Administrator
SBHCs partner with their school to develop a shared vision to improve student success.
Schools and SBHCs share the same mission—they want their students to thrive. SBHCs integrate into the education environment by contributing directly to the school’s mission and delivering outcomes that matter to educators—such as reduced student absenteeism. SBHCs collaborate with school administrators, teachers, and support staff to ensure the partnership meets student needs efficiently, effectively, and seamlessly.
“Our approach to care for children is unique and different, and lends itself to improved outcomes.” – Dr. Veda Johnson, SBHC Physician
SBHCs are extraordinary win-win propositions for communities.
When health care is accessed in schools, students benefit because they don’t have to travel to find a physician. Parents benefit because they don’t have to take a day off of work. The schools benefit because students spend more time in the classroom. And employers benefit because parents don’t have to miss a day of work.
What makes a great SBHC?
The School-Based Health Alliance, in partnership with our state affiliates and experts from the school-based health care field, have developed a set of seven core competencies that great SBHCs have mastered. The core competencies represent the knowledge, expertise, policies, practices, and attributes that every SBHC is expected to demonstrate in its pursuit of student wellness. These are a useful resource that SBHC staff and administrators can use as a framework to achieve excellence in delivering care in a school setting.Go to the Core Competencies