School Health Services
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- School-Based Health Centers in MN
Related MDH Programs
School- Based Health Centers in Minnesota
Why School Based Health Centers?
Minnesota children and adolescents benefit from having their health needs addressed in a timely, affordable and competent manner where they spend most of their time- at school. Healthcare delivery adjacent to a school opens-up access to children and adolescents to receive medical care, while supporting families. School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) provide students with high quality medical, mental, and behavioral health services from health care providers trained in child, adolescent and young adult care and development. Research demonstrates that young people are more likely to seek out and use health services that are easy to get to, in a familiar location, are youth-friendly, culturally and linguistically appropriate. SBHCs are affordable, accessible, convenient, and uphold all state laws already in place for parent knowledge, consent and student confidentiality. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified urgent physical and mental health needs of adolescents and children. SBHCs are uniquely situated to help support children and adolescents with these needs.
Young people aged 5 to 18 years, spend nearly six hours per day at school. Students cannot learn if they have unmet health needs, cannot afford to pay for services, or do not know how to navigate the healthcare system. National evidence demonstrates school-based care can help to address education equity by addressing health concerns that go unaddressed in classrooms and prevent learning.
Currently, nine sponsoring agencies operate 29 SBHCs in Minnesota. These clinics serve approximately 9,000 students with needed immunizations, vaccinations, routine check-ups, mental health screening, management of chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma, and routine dental services annually. School based health centers partner with additional providers for specialized services or referrals to needed care.
What is a School Based Health Center?
A comprehensive school-based health center is a safety net health care delivery model located in or near a school facility and that offers comprehensive medical care, including preventive and behavioral health services. These services are provided by licensed and qualified health professionals in accordance with federal, state, and local law, to all students and youth within a school or district regardless of ability to pay, insurance coverage, or immigration status. When not located on school property, the SBHC must have an established relationship with one or more schools in the community and operate to primarily serve those student groups.
Defining Characteristics of a SBHC
- In or near a school
- Serves students first
- Ensures equity by turning no child away for their ability to pay
- Eases access to care that helps kids learn and communities thrive
Impact on Education
There is strong evidence that SBHCs increase academic achievement for participating children. Schools that have SBHCs integrated into their community report:
- Increased attendance decreased disciplinary referrals
- Lower dropout rates and higher graduation rates
- Improved school climate or learning environment as reported by students, teachers, and parents
-MN School-Based Health Alliance
Impact on Children and Families:
SBHCs are a transformational and evidence-based approach for delivering health care to children and adolescents. School-based health care means that students K-12 can get a flu shot, have an annual physical, have their teeth examined and their eyes checked, or speak to a mental health counselor in a safe, nurturing place without the barriers that families too often face. School-based health care is one of the best models for assuring all children and adolescents can enjoy good health and achieve their fullest potential. The SBHC model is an evidence-based approach for delivering health education, care and support to children and adolescents through coordinated and youth-centric environments.
Equity and Inclusion:
Integrating and coordinating health and education through the SBHCs model efficiently and cost-effectively addresses health inequities like access to mental health support, vaccines, vision care, and other essential medical care for children and youth in Minnesota. Minnesota has a variety of successful working models of SBHCs, which partner health care providers and schools or entire districts that educate children while health care organizations provide whole-child wellness care in the same place. These models are imbedded into the school culture, woven into relationships with parents, teachers, administrators, and allied service providers such as school counselors, social workers, and school nurses.
Part of a Team
SBHCs do not work alone in a school, they work as part of a multidisciplinary team to support student health and academics. This team includes school nurses, social workers and counselors, school administration and other support staff. In addition, SBHC staff can partner with parents and caregivers when appropriate.
SBHCs are part of a larger framework supporting students in their communities. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child, or WSCC model, is CDC’s framework for addressing health in schools. The WSCC model is student-centered and emphasizes the role of the community in supporting the school, the connections between health and academic achievement and the importance of evidence-based school policies and practices.
SBHC staff work in close partnership with licensed school nurses.
- National Association of School Nurses
- School-Based Health Alliance
For more information:
- Adolescent and School Health at MDH Health.firstname.lastname@example.org
- The MN School Based Health Alliance is a nonprofit organization that supports the sustainability, quality, equity, and expansion of school-based health care near or inside of Minnesota’s schools.
- The School-Based Health Alliance works to set the national policy and legislative agenda for the field, advocate for greater support and funding, promote high-quality clinical practices and standards, support data collection and reporting, evaluation, and research, and provide training, technical assistance, and consultation to SBHCs nationally.
- Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC)