The American Public Health Association’s Center for School, Health and Education advances school-based health care as a comprehensive strategy for preventing school dropout and improving graduation rates for K-12 students. School-based health centers have the capacity to benefit all students in a school by addressing barriers to learning such as bullying, hunger and distress.
Through partnerships, policies and advocacy, the Center links the educational and public health communities to ensure that all students—particularly those facing social inequities—are supported to graduate. The Center promotes school-based health centers as uniquely positioned to create a learning-friendly climate school-wide, increase access to physical and mental health care, and promote lifelong healthy behaviors for children and teens.
The Center’s location within the American Public Health Association underscores the fact that high school completion is a public health priority. Educational success starts with healthy students, and students who complete high school are more likely to have a lifetime of better health and economic opportunities.
School-based health centers are in the unique position of playing a critical role in addressing social determinants of educational success, helping to prevent high school dropout and positively impact graduation rates. In communities where social inequities are pronounced, this potential becomes even more powerful. School-based health centers influence decisions about policies, systems and practices that affect all K–12 students and their communities, in addition to keeping students healthy.
The Center has developed a pilot program which focuses on an expanded role for school-based health centers to prevent school dropout. The pilot was publicly launched at a pep rally in Detroit on Thursday, June 6, 2013.
Begun in 2004 at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the School-Based Health Care Policy Program was developed and guided by the principal that school-based health care should be financially stable, available, accessible to children and families, and supported as a consumer-centered model of quality care throughout the United States. The Center for School, Health and Education builds on the policy successes of this program by advocating for the expanded role of school-based health centers to develop and implement comprehensive strategies that will reduce school dropout and promote graduation. This expanded role recognizes the inextricable link between health and educational success.
Bios of Terri D. Wright, Director; Tia Taylor Williams, Deputy Director; Kelly Nelson, Program Manager; Darien Mather, Program Associate; and Ivana Castellanos, Program Associate.