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National School-Based Health Care Conference wrap-up: Connecting and learning together again

Thank you to all who attended the National School-Based Health Care Conference this past week! We enjoyed seeing you all in person and learning alongside one another.

It was a great honor and thrill to have Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, kick off the conference. “I wanted to be here this morning … because I love you,” he said to laughter from the crowd. Becerra used the 1996 Tom Cruise-Renee Zellweger film “Jerry Maguire” to convey the importance of the relationship between school-based health centers and the HHS. “We want you to succeed. … Let’s knock it out of the park,” he said.

Jim Macrae and Sheila Pradia-Williams of the Health Resources & Services Administration followed Becerra and shared the work of their agencies.

“I think there’s more interest than I’ve ever heard in my career for school-based health,” said Macrae, Associate Administrator of the Bureau of Primary Health Care and our 2022 Champion Award winner.  

In keeping with the conference’s theme of “Celebrating and Growing the Workforce,” Pradia-Williams, Deputy Associate Administrator of the Bureau of Health Workforce, shared two loan repayment programs for Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery and Pediatric Specialties. Our closing plenary also explored the theme with a panel discussing their successes in expanding and diversifying the health workforce through youth programs in West Virginia, Alabama, New Mexico, and Virginia. 

One of our favorite parts of the conference was showing our appreciation to colleagues from across the nation whose work has made and continues to make a great impact on the school-based health care field. We were pleased to honor Donna Mazyck with the Champion Award, Meg Kane with the Rising Star Award, and Francie Wolgin and Dr. Marilyn Crumpton with the Lifetime Achievement Award. We even surprised two of our SBHA colleagues, Laura Brey and Deirdre Taylor, with the inaugural Presidents Awards for their decades of service to the organization.

We released our guide to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in partnership with the National Center for Youth Law. Find the one-pager and the full guide here. We also shared our updated Core Competencies, with added sections about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and other changes, the result of months of work and input from staff and the field.

We welcomed our new Youth Advisory Council members, and our state leader partners, whose time working in school-based health ranges from a few months to several decades, discussed their priorities for working together at the state and national level in the next year.

Other resources we shared included lessons learned about preventing and addressing adolescent relationship abuse and how SBHCs and Pediatric Mental Health Care Access programs are a natural partnership for improving access to mental health care (coming soon to our website!)

Attendees were also very interested in learning about how to leverage data to engage in better advocacy and improve the quality of services. In sessions about SBHC State Policy Survey data and SBHC Census data, attendees asked great questions and shared great ideas about ways we can dig deeper into the data

Thanks again to all our presenters and attendees for three days of fun and networking. Be sure to save the date for next year’s conference! We look forward to seeing you July 1-3, 2024, at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Washington, D.C.

SBHA staff 2023

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