by Molly Ticknor, Executive Director, Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance
February is National School Based Health Center Awareness Month, an effort to highlight and recognize the role school-based health care providers play in ensuring students have equitable access to high-quality health care.
Health + Education = Success!
Every February, we join our national partners in highlighting how school-based health programs lead the way in providing healthcare services for our nation’s children and adolescents. School-based health programs are now more important than ever, given the impact of the pandemic and with the new administration and Congress looking for ways to maximize impact from health care spending. This is our opportunity to ensure our policymakers and leadership see the value and great need to sustain and grow school-based health programs in Missouri and nationwide.
School-based health programs in Missouri provide a wide array of healthcare services to students, school staff, and often the community. Missouri has over 675 school-based health programs serving over 520,000 students. These programs provide a variety of services, including primary and urgent care, mental health, oral and/or vision care, through several service delivery models, which include onsite (at school) clinics, mobile, telehealth, and school-linked programs. School-based health programs and staff are licensed, and can include nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physicians’ assistants, licensed social workers, physicians, and dentists and dental hygienists.
Missouri programs provide care such as treatment of acute injuries and illnesses, routine checkups and physicals, health screenings, immunizations, mental health services, prescription of medications, and often address community/social needs that impact the students’ ability to learn and be successful. They are an important resource for school-aged children because they provide critical medical and mental health services, regardless of the student’s insurance coverage or ability to pay.
By observing National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month, health care providers, educators, families, and students can help educate national, state, and local policymakers about the importance of school-based health and the support it has from their communities.
Celebrate with the National Alliance by tagging them on social media (@sbh4all) and using the #SBHCAwarenessMonth hashtag to share personal stories and data. Providers, schools, and community members are encouraged to reach out to their legislators, host youth-led advocacy campaigns, share stories via social media and newsletters, and thank their school-based health program staff.
All month, the Alliance will be sharing success stories from across Missouri as well as celebrating our school-based health providers. Read more in depth about Missouri school-based health programs and learn more about the work of the Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance of Missouri. We invite you to connect with us on FaceBook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to follow along!