State and Local Action Steps and Practices to Improve School-Based Health
High-Impact Opportunity #5
Build Local Partnerships and Participate in Hospital Community Needs Assessments.
Hospital community benefits include initiatives and activities undertaken by nonprofit hospitals to improve health in the communities they serve. Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals claiming 501(c)(3) charitable, tax-exempt status must conduct a community health needs assessment (CHNA) at least every three years (beginning in 2012/2013) and adopt strategies to address prioritized needs. Hospital CHNAs can help launch productive partnerships between hospitals and schools because nonprofit hospitals are required to consult with community members and public health experts as part of the CHNA process. Schools and school districts can also partner with many other kinds of community-based organizations to enrich the health services available to students.
A growing body of evidence and experience suggests that multi-organizational partnerships are promising mechanisms for improving public health.
School districts can meet with community benefit staff in local tax-exempt hospitals to learn how the needs assessment is conducted and how they can become part of the process. Hospital and school administratorsas well as parents, teachers, and other members of the communitycan work together with hospitals to identify investments that can improve school health and educational outcomes in the targeted service area of the hospital.
The Community Health Network (CHN) in Indiana has established school health services in over 100 schools in Indianapolis. Students can access a range of mental health and health services, from immunizations and treatment for minor illnesses to primary care at some locations. Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston provides programs to help build science and literacy skills through Brigham Book Buddies, Pen Pal Program, and an interactive Science Club for elementary school students. As part of its mission to diversify the future health care workforce, BWH's Student Success Jobs Program employs and mentors Boston Public School high school students to introduce them to careers in health care, science, and medicine. These programs are made possible through the involvement of hundreds of committed employee volunteers.
The Missing School Matters campaign is another example of the ability of local partnerships to achieve change. At the request of 12 partnering Central Texas school district superintendents, the E3 (Education Equals Economics) Alliance in Austin, TX, launched a campaign in 2011 to improve student attendance, in order to increase student achievement and to return more revenue to schools, which are funded based on daily attendance. To provide data on which students are most frequently absentas well as why, when and whereE3 Alliance designed and executed a ground-breaking Absence Reasons Study in 2013 funded by St. David's Foundation and Central Health. The study found that the single largest reported cause of Central Texas student absences (48 percent) is acute illness and that addressing causes of preventable illness would have the greatest potential impact on absenteeism. In 2014, with the support of partners such as St. David's Foundation, Healthy Schools LLC, and Schoolhouse Pediatrics, E3 Alliance brought flu vaccines at no cost to more than 6,500 students in 56 elementary schoolsthe largest in-school flu immunization campaign in the history of the state of Texas. In 2015, the campaign will be quadrupled, to 26,000 students in 136 schools. Since E3 Alliance launched Missing School Matters, over $20 million has been returned to Central Texas schools because total student absences have dropped while overall enrollment rapidly increased for the first time in two decades.
- To learn about community benefits and the role they play in improving community health, visit https://www.chausa.org/communitybenefit/community-benefit and http://www.hilltopinstitute.org/publications/WhatAreHCBsTwoPager-February2013.pdf.
- To develop a community health needs assessment, determine a community's health needs and to learn about the role of Hospital Community Benefit in addressing those needs, visit http://www.cdc.gov/stltpublichealth/Program/resources/community.html.
- To find the nearest school-based health center go to: http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/.
- For information on school-based health centers and the relationship between student health and outcomes, visit the School-Based Health Alliance at http://www.sbh4all.org/.
- To learn more about how school administrators can promote student and school health, visit http://www.aasa.org/content.aspx?id=206.
- To learn about how the Children's Defense Fund can support efforts in your area to address the health challenges faced by children, visit http://www.childrensdefense.org/policy/health/.
- To access best practices in children's health care from the American Academy of Pediatrics, visit aap.org.
- To learn how the National Association of School Nurses promotes student health on a variety of topics including asthma, lice, violence, obesity, and environmental health visit nasn.org.
- To view best practices for counselors, administrators, and parents from the American School Counselor Association, visit http://schoolcounselor.org/.
- To get resources for schools and school social workers focused on addressing the social, emotional, and academic needs of students from the School Social Work Association of America, visit http://www.sswaa.org/?page=758P.
- To build stronger community partnerships using strategies compiled by the Coalition for Community Schools, visit http://www.communityschools.org/multimedia/current.aspx#Article.
- For state/territory-specific public health information compiled by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, visit http://www.astho.org/Public-Policy/State-Health-Policy/.
- To learn about ways to create healthier school environments, visit the Healthy Schools Campaign website at http://www.healthyschoolscampaign.org/.
- To develop skills to identify and address the health needs of your community, visit http://www.cdc.gov/CHInav/.
- To find strategies to prevent youth violence and substance use and increase student access to mental health services, visit the Safe Schools/Healthy Students website at http://www.samhsa.gov/safe-schools-healthy-students.
- To review collaborative strategies used by schools and community partners to connect students to mental health services, visit http://www.attendanceworks.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Connecting-Students-to-Mental-Health-Services_FINAL.pdf.
- For strategies to integrate school-based strategies that promote students' social-emotional, cognitive, and health needs into local and state policy, visit http://actionguide.healthinschools.org/.
- To learn more about absenteeism, how schools and communities can partner together to address the issue, and access a toolkit full of helpful resources, visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/chronicabsenteeism/index.html. To understand why chronic absenteeism is an issue and how to engage all community stakeholders to address it, visit http://awareness.attendanceworks.org/wp-content/uploads/Count-Us-In-toolkit-2015_Final.pdf.
- To connect at-risk populations to appropriate health care services in an efficient manner, read about the Pathways Community HUB at http://chap-ohio.net/press/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/CommunityHUBManual3.pdf.
- To learn how Kaiser Permanente has partnered with national organizations to develop healthy "Thriving Schools," visit http://thrivingschools.kaiserpermanente.org/.
- To develop strategies to build and strengthen family-school partnerships, school and district leaders can visit http://www2.ed.gov/documents/family-community/partners-education.pdf.
- To read about the impact community and school partnerships can have on supporting teaching and learning, visit http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/ae_summer2009.pdf.
- For an example of a public school system that has formed information-sharing partnerships between school nurses and community health care providers, visit http://www.nemours.org/health-professionals/nemourslink/student-health-collaboration.html.
- Mays, G.P., and F.D. Scutchfield. (2010). Improving Public Health System Performance through Multiorganizational Partnerships. Prev Chronic Dis 7(6): A116. http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2010/nov/10_0088.htm.