Organizational Member Profile: The SPOT, Washington University in St. Louis.

By Molly Knopf, State Relations and Membership Director, School-Based Health Alliance

The School-Based Health Alliance will occasionally feature a member profile on our blog for organizational members, as one of our member benefits. To learn more about School-Based Health Alliance membership, click here.

In October, 2014, I had the opportunity to speak with Chay Samuel and Dr. Sarah Garwood from The SPOT (Supporting Positive Opportunities with Teens) at Washington University in St. Louis. They are spearheading the opening of a new school-based health center (SBHC) at Jennings High School in St. Louis, Missouri.

As a pediatrician, Dr. Garwood was familiar with the school-based health care model, and wanted to implement it in a school where the students could most benefit from it.

After doing some research, Dr. Garwood realized that School-Based Health Alliance could provide the resources and information they needed to move forward in opening an SBHC. Chay Samuel, Project Coordinator and Health Educator, has participated in “live” and archived webinars, and has found The Blueprint particularly useful. The Blueprint “has allowed us to use some templates, such as the policy and procedures, the parental consent forms, MOUs, and business plan.” This has saved them time in searching for examples and creating forms from scratch.

Dr. Garwood and Ms. Samuel asked the School-Based Health Alliance for contacts at other SBHCs near them, so they could reach out to learn more about their models. Through this networking, they connected with SBHCs in East St. Louis, where they have conducted site visits. They also connected with SBHCs in Colorado to see how the SBHC system works there.

In accordance with best practices and sustainability planning, The SPOT will begin providing services at Jennings High School with mental health services. They are doing their due diligence with launching a needs assessment, working with an advisory committee, and building community buy-in to justify and pursue a full-service, comprehensive clinic, including medical services. They anticipate implementing behavioral health services in March 2015, with medical services to follow in the fall of 2016.

I am thrilled to have The SPOT team opening an SBHC in an area of need in their community. The resources and technical assistance that the School-Based Health Alliance provides will save them time and set them on the course for developing a successful and sustainable SBHC.

We look forward to hearing how The SPOT progresses in the creation of the SBHC over the next couple of years.

Are you interested in becoming a member of the School-Based Health Alliance? Click here to learn more about the benefits available to members.


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