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The Role of School-Based Health Centers


School-based health centers (SBHCs) can provide a variety of health services to students, including medical, nutritional, oral and mental health. According to a survey conducted by the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, there are nearly 2,000 SBHCs running in 48 states. Fifty-seven percent are located in urban communities, 27 percent in rural areas and 16 percent in the suburbs. Some pediatricians are concerned that these school health programs may conflict with a student's medical home. According to a new American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement, appearing in the February 2012 Pediatrics (published online Jan. 30), it is important for health care practitioners working in SBHCs and in pediatric practices (medical homes) to plan and work together in their community to provide care for uninsured children with health disparities or limited access to quality health care. The policy statement provides suggestions and recommendations on how this can be accomplished. It reviews published studies on how SBHC's reach at-risk populations of children and youth and provide quality services with improved outcomes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.