What exactly is a School-Based Health Center?
A school-based health center is, literally, a full-service medical center located in a school building. They are a major component of the nation’s health care safety net and operate as a partnership between a school and a community health organization. Today, there are over 70 school-based health centers in Michigan serving more than 200,000 students. School-based health centers are an innovative way to get the care students need directly to them where they are 5 days a week – at school. Access to this care is critical to the students’ success in school and in life.
The Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools (RAHS) operates six (6) centers in Washtenaw County that serve over 2000 youths. RAHS, a program of the University of Michigan Health System, partnered with the Ann Arbor Public Schools, the Lincoln Public Schools, the Willow Run Community Schools, and the Ypsilanti Public Schools to open and operate the RAHS health centers.
What does RAHS do?
RAHS provides school-based health programs and clinical services that improve the well-being of students, their families, and communities. In addition to direct physical and mental health services, RAHS offers three comprehensive health intervention programs targeting substance use and abuse, childhood obesity, and asthma as well as after school programs that offer mentoring and youth leadership opportunities.
RAHS is comprised of six (6) school-based health centers in Washtenaw County – Ann Arbor Technological High School, Lincoln Consolidated Schools, Scarlett Middle School, Willow Run Community Schools, Ypsilanti High School, and Ypsilanti Middle School. RAHS is staffed by University of Michigan Health System nurse practitioners, physicians, social workers, dietitians, medical assistants, and other support staff.
Why use school-based health centers? What’s so great about them?
Studies have shown that youth served by school-based health centers showed improved rates of school attendance, enhanced scores on standardized tests, and increased immunizations rates. Research has also shown they help to reduce unnecessary and costly emergency room visits and to decrease absenteeism due to illnesses.
What is School-Based Health Center Awareness Month?
Every February, the school-based health center movement celebrates their impact on the daily lives of students, schools, and communities across the country. School-based health centers throughout Michigan work to raise awareness of the critical role played by these centers in improving the health and well-being of our children.
The School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan (SCHA-MI) also runs a contest every year. The theme for 2013 is “At the Intersection of Health and Education.”
Attention Students!! Let’s get creative! Create a piece of artwork or a creative presentation that follows SCHA-MI’s 2013 theme and your work will be showcased in the Capitol Rotunda. Artwork and/or creative presentations must be emailed or received to the SCHA-MI office no later than February 18, 2013. There is only one rule – your creative piece must coordinate with the theme. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place.