School-based Health Centers Keep Students Healthy, Ready to Learn

Imagine that your child needs to see the doctor, you can’t leave work and you don’t know what to do.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the doctor’s office was right on the school premises so your child could just walk down the hall for his/her appointment?

In thousands of schools across the country that is exactly what is happening.  Through partnerships between schools and community health organizations such as Community Health Centers, School-based Health Centers are providing quality, comprehensive primary and preventive health care that is helping to keep students healthy and in the classroom.  As you can imagine, the School-Based Health Center model increases access to health care, especially for students who are uninsured, underserved, and have nowhere else to get care.

Michigan’s School-Based Health Centers, also called Child and Adolescent Health Centers, have been delivering comprehensive health care and a wide range of support services for over 20 years.  They staff a multi-disciplinary team of pediatric or adolescent health specialists who address critical health issues that impact youth today, such as asthma, diabetes, mental health problems, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases.

One of the newest Michigan School-Based Health Centers opened last November in Muskegon High School.  Operated by Hackley Community Care Center, one of Michigan’s 32 Community Health Centers, the Teen Health Center is open to local youth between the ages of 10 and 21 years.  In the first 16 days the Health Center was open, 83 medical students received care.  In December, 25 dental patients received care.

This is just one example how a School-based Health Center is meeting student need for health care by providing effective, efficient, appropriate care.

February marks National School-based Health Center Awareness Month.  Gov. Snyder signed a proclamation declaring the awareness month in Michigan.  For more information, go to www.scha-mi.org/pages/sbhcawarenessmonth.html.

For information about Michigan’s School-Based Health Centers (Child and Adolescent Health Centers), visit www.scha-mi.org.  For information about Community Health Centers, many of which operate School-Based Health Centers, go to www.mpca.net.

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