Each week during Awareness Month, we will feature a story about a long-time leader and advocate for school-based health care on our blog. Our next blog features Patti Scott, who has worked as an SBHC administrator in Maryland, Tennessee, and Arkansas.
Patti Scott started her school-based health care career in 1987 when she answered an ad for a job at a school-based health center (SBHC) in Baltimore, Maryland. She arrived and immediately fell in love with the work. Four and a half years later, her career took her to Nashville, Tennessee where she spent 21 years as an administrator and worked to increase the number of SBHCs in the state. She now finds herself in Arkansas, where the state is using funds from the Tobacco Master Settlement to establish SBHCs.
Throughout her career, the School-Based Health Alliance has been there to help connect Scott with colleagues and resources. In 1995, Scott traveled to Washington, DC in 1995 to attend the first National School-Based Health Care Convention. She had just started the first elementary SBHC in Nashville and hoped to learn more about how to continue to grow SBHCs in Tennessee. At the convention, she met peers from across the country, many of whom she remains connected with until this day.
“I think one thing I am pleased with is the way the SBHC model has evolved since that early convention,” said Scott. “When we first started establishing SBHCs, we provided traditional health services. It wasn’t population focused. I think if you look at the workshop listing for the first national convention it would bear that out. Now the focus is about taking care of a population of kids and teens, not just the ones who walk through the door. It’s about the community. That has been a marvelous improvement.”
Scott has experienced tremendous success throughout her career and has seen the number of SBHCs grow in Maryland, Tennessee, and Arkansas. However, when asked what the proudest moment of her career has been, Scott reflected the individual impact of her work. “In an administrative role, 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.’ It’s great.”