School-based Health Centers (SBHCs) are emerging in Washington State and across the country as an effective way to deliver consistent, high quality primary health care and mental health services to children and adolescents, particularly to the underserved. SBHCs work hand-in-hand with the school community to provide safe, age-appropriate care when and where students need it.
The Washington School-based Health Alliance is a non-profit organization working to support, promote and expand the SBHC model throughout the state. The Alliance is an affiliate of the School-Based Health Alliance (formerly NASBHC).
SBHCs provide high quality, accessible, culturally competent health services. Services may include preventive well-child care, immunizations, urgent care, chronic care, mental and behavioral health counseling, family planning, drug and alcohol counseling, nutritional counseling, and or al healthcare provided by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals.
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.
SBHCs are an important bridge between health and education, delivering results that matter to schools, including decreases in absenteeism, improvements in grade point averages (Journal of Adolescent Health, 2009). A recent Seattle study indicates SBHCs reduce drop out rates for some of the most at-risk students. Opening school doors to health care opens pathways to healthier students and communities
By the Numbers
47 SBHCs operate in communities across the state, serving students age 5-21 years.
8,892 students were seen in SBHCs in King County alone in the 2015-2016 school year with more than 42,800 total visits.