School: Where Health and Education Can Meet
A new paper from Brookings celebrates collaboration in the name of better health, and offers lessons for others trying to work together. School-based health centers, writes Olga Acosta Price, PhD, reflect a “strong partnership between education and health systems” that allow both to better meet their respective needs.
The centers take a number of forms, with one goal: to link students to a variety of health care providers. That link often extends to siblings or parents–care that can improve outcomes for the student, too. For instance, centers in the Denver Public Schools are open to all students no matter which school they attend. And in Maryland’s Montgomery County, seven schools offer family therapy and parenting classes.
Sources of funding for school-based health centers include the state, city, school districts, federal grants, and philanthropy.
As director of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, Price also produced An Action Guide for Sustaining Child Development and Prevention Approaches, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she has also acted as program director.
School-based health centers are, of course, the very model of what a Culture of Health involves, including, as the paper reports, organizations with different rules and cultures figuring out how to mesh their practices in ways that best benefit the children and community. The paper gives a peek at the challenges and solutions–examples that might parallel similar efforts by different organizations to collaborate for to improve life for all.