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Addressing Food Insecurities in SBHCs

The School-Based Health Alliance (SBHA) and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign (NKH) believe that by working together to embrace and build on families’ trust in SBHCs, we can promote federal nutrition programs and nutritious food consumption in support of positive health outcomes and improved food security.

We convened an initial learning network comprising 16 health center leaders and champions across the nation who came together over 11 months to implement a community-driven food security solution in their health centers. Participating SBHCs represented diverse communities, resulting in various approaches to tackling food insecurity. Participants remarked on the economic and social barriers to sustainable programming that addresses food insecurity. Key themes and recommendations include prioritizing dedicated staff, managing stigma, using targeted policy advocacy, developing state learning networks, and acknowledging the importance of tailored community-specific approaches. 

Learnings from the initial cohort were gathered in “Emerging Models And Resources To Address Food Insecurity In School-Based Health Centers,” a toolkit that highlights promising practices for integrating nutrition and food access into SBHC services to address social influencers of health, improve food security for families, and support student success and wellness.

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The initial 2021-2022 learning network included the following health centers across the country. The sites noted with an asterisk are part of the 2023-2024 Continuing Learning Network.

Alanson Wellness Program, Health Department of Northwest Michigan, Alanson, Michigan*

Caroline and Talbot County School-Based Wellness Centers, Choptank Community Health System, Denton, Maryland*

The Counseling and Medical Place (The CAMP) at Tahquamenon Area Schools, LMAS District Health Department, Newberry, Michigan*

Four Corners Youth Clinics @ SWOS and Dolores Campus, Four Corners Youth Clinics, Cortez and Dolores, Colorado

Hornet Health Center, Health Department of Northwest Michigan, Pellston, Michigan

Malvern School and Community Health and Wellness Center, Malvern School District, Malvern, Arkansas*

MetroHealth School Health Program, The MetroHealth System, Cleveland*

Moorefield High School, E.A. Hawse Health Center, Inc., Moorefield, West Virginia*

Mt. Healthy School-Based Health Center Food Pantry, The HealthCare Connection, Cincinnati

Pinellas County School-Based Health Centers, Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, St. Petersburg, Florida

Port Chester Middle School, Open Door Family Medical Center, Port Chester, New York*

Rising Star Elementary, Neighborcare Health, Seattle

Rush SBHC at Orr Academy/KIPP One, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago*

South Cameron High School SBHC, CHRISTUS Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana, Grand Chenier, Louisiana

Stephens School Based Health Center, Little Rock School District, Little Rock, Arkansas*

Turner Elementary School-Based Health Clinic, Albany Area Primary Health Care, Inc., Albany, Georgia*

Initial Learning Network Findings

Statewide School-Based Health Center Food Access Innovations and Learning Network  

In July 2023, SBHA and NKH launched a learning network of two State Affiliates—the Ohio School-Based Health Alliance and Youth Healthcare Alliance (YHA) of Colorado—to support them in creating food access learning networks in their own states, which launched in Fall 2023. The Ohio SBHA selected 12 sites and YHA selected 10 sites. SBHA and NKH are supporting their efforts to generate more impact at the state and local levels.