SBHCs are an important bridge between health and education, delivering results that matter to schools, including decreases in absenteeism and improvements in grade point averages (Journal of Adolescent Health, 2009). A recent Seattle study indicates SBHCs reduce dropout rates for some of the most at-risk students.
The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State reports that “the more health risks students have, the more likely they will not succeed in school. Each health risk that can be removed has the potential to positively influence academic behaviors” (Healthy Students/Successful Students, OSPI, 2009). SBHCs remove some of these key health risks.
Specifically, school-based health centers:
- Save parents and employers time by allowing students to stay in school to get their health care needs met and facilitating follow up care
- Identify problems earlier through developing ongoing relationships with students in the setting where they spend their days
- Provide easy access to health care that allows students to get timely and appropriate services and so prevent emergency department visits for primary care needs
- Improve student health by managing children with chronic or other underlying illnesses and promoting sound nutrition
- Engage parents and community by working with families to help them receive services for the physical and emotional development of their children
- Increase attendance by providing preventive health services, administering medication to students with chronic conditions, enrolling students in health insurance, and providing mental and oral health care on site so students miss less classroom time
- Increase school connectedness through the provision of mental health services and involvement and integration with other community services brought into the school
- Reduce barriers to learning with early detection of developmental delays and assistance in coordination of subsequent intervention
- Support teachers and school personnel by educating teachers on how to incorporate strategies that promote child health and development into their daily curriculum