What Is School-Based Health Care?
School-based health care advances health equity for children and adolescents who experience barriers to accessing care because of systemic inequities, their family income, or where they live. School-based health centers (SBHCs), the most comprehensive type of school-based health care, do this by providing primary, behavioral, oral, and vision care where youth spend most of their time – at school.
Schools and community healthcare organizations form partnerships and their staffs collaborate to open and sustain SBHCs. The care provided in SBHCs complements but does not replace or duplicate existing school health services. It results in improved health outcomes and health literacy for students, school staff, and the community, and contributes to positive education outcomes, including reduced absenteeism, decreased disciplinary actions and suspensions, and improved graduation rates. SBHCs advocate for the needs of children, youth, and families who have low incomes and provide them with a safe haven.
The Community Preventive Services Task Force convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends SBHCs as an evidence-based model that improves educational and health outcomes.