The Most Important Resource We Have

By Hayley Lofink, Director of Research and Evaluation, School-Based Health Alliance

Census 2013-14Do you know how many school-based health centers (SBHCs) have a behavioral health provider working alongside a primary care provider? Or how many of them provide oral health services, immunizations, or group or classroom-based prevention programs? How about how many SBHCs are being reimbursed for services provided?

These are just a small sample of the questions about SBHCs we receive daily from government agencies, Congress, researchers, advocates, philanthropists, and reporters. The reason they come to us is because they are seeking to understand specific and detailed national and state-level information about SBHCs that only the School-Based Health Alliance possess. We have this information thanks to the Census of School-Based Health Centers, a triennial survey of the school-based health care field we have conducted for the past 15 years.

The census is the most powerful tool we have to demonstrate SBHC’s impact on communities across the country. We use the data constantly to help us to identify policy and programmatic priorities and understand areas for future exploration and research. Personally, I feel lucky to lead the census data collection because it helps me feel more connected to the field at the site and sponsor level. I enjoy the opportunity to learn about your programs and see how the SBHC model is evolving.

This data is in your hands. The School-Based Health Alliance launched the 2013-14 Census of School-Based Health Centers in July 2014, and we need every SBHC to complete the census to ensure the most accurate representation of the school-based health care field.

We are off to a positive start with more than 400 completed surveys. We set an ambitious goal of reaching 80% completion by the end of 2014, and we need your participation so that we can reach this goal together. We all benefit!

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