Letter to the Editor

School-Based Health Centers : Improving Access to Health Care for Youth

Connections among school, community and family are critical elements required for protecting children’s health, safety and well-being. Primary care and behavioral health services are vital components of a comprehensive approach to promoting health and education, and preventing illness among Massachusetts ’ children. Schoolchildren today experience the harmful affects of major public health concerns, including poor nutrition, tobacco use, violence and unintentional injury, substance abuse and chronic diseases such as asthma, and obesity. Currently, more than 54,000 children do not have access to appropriate, affordable, and timely preventive health care, yet there are solutions. 
School-based health centers are a logical and time-proven setting in which to provide medical and behavioral health care to those who would otherwise have no access to health care. School-based health centers:

  • Improve children’s access to health care by overcoming financial and non-financial barriers to care such as lack of health insurance, transportation difficulties, having to miss school, and insufficient attention to the particular needs of adolescents;

  • Assure access to care for those students who are the most vulnerable and least likely to obtain care through a traditional health care delivery system;

  • Strive to link students to a medical home and communicate regularly with the primary care provider in a way that enhances the coordination of health care delivery;

  • Partner with parents in the health education and health supervision of their child, creating connections to the family that reinforce healthy behaviors;

  • Integrate their services into the school milieu and support a comprehensive approach to health in the school setting                                                                                              
The Gloucester High School Student Health Center is now open to support student health needs and we welcome the opportunity to answer any questions parents may have about the services we provide and how we can work together to help keep our kids healthy. After all, healthy children make better students. Please feel free to contact us to see how your child may be served through the school-based health center or come by for a tour. Also, visit our website on theGloucester Public School web board for a downloadable consent form and description of the center. 

Gloucester High School Health Center 
32 Leslie O. Johnson Road, Room 1214 
Gloucester, MA 01930