May 28, 2022

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School health center investment vital for Appalachian families | News, Sports, Jobs

3 min read
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Pricey Editor,

The COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive and devastating for too quite a few, including our school-aged young children. Time will notify what extended-time period impacts the pandemic will have on our learners, households and communities. This spring, as the Governor and point out legislature make conclusions all-around investing extra federal Covid relief dollars, increasing the footprint of Ohio’s University-Primarily based Overall health Centers would be a smart use of these a single-time funds.

For a lot more than 30 several years, SBHCs in Ohio have improved the health and education and learning results of the learners they provide. SBHCs are overall health centers positioned in or near a faculty that deliver wellness expert services to learners (pre-K-12). Many SBHCs also serve faculty personnel, mothers and fathers and siblings of learners, and other community members. In these scenarios, SBHCs normally remain open outside of regular school hrs and for the duration of summers.

In a normal SBHC model, a sponsoring entity operates and administers the SBHC and employs or contracts with team to offer healthcare expert services. SBHCs are typically sponsored by local community health care suppliers these as federally qualified health and fitness facilities, hospitals or neighborhood overall health departments. SBHCs give principal and preventative treatment expert services, which lots of moments consists of healthcare, behavioral overall health, and frequently dental and vision providers, much too.

While there is a apparent have to have to develop SBHC’s throughout our total state, our Appalachian area would profit substantially. The Appalachian area addresses 32 counties and stretches south along the Ohio River and as much north as Lake Erie. Between the hundreds of educational institutions in the area, nowadays there are only 18 SBHCs.

The condition of Ohio, under the leadership of Governor (Mike) DeWine and bipartisan legislative leaders, have previously made substantial investments in student wellness and ability-setting up at current SBHCs. But there is far more to do in assistance of communities across the complete point out. Whether it’s acquiring a SBHC in a new community or supporting an existing SBHC to increase far more products and services onsite like dental or vision or extending behavioral health and fitness capability, rising Ohio’s SBHC footprint will drive superior well being and educational benefits.

In accordance to a research published in the American Journal of Community Health, SBHCs generate positive aspects this sort of as enhanced grade stage averages, increased preventatives treatment, increased fees of substantial faculty completion and lessened instructional gaps and health disparities.

In addition, other research has located lots of back links concerning SBHCs and improved faculty attendance. For the reason that continual absenteeism is the end result of sophisticated mental, actual physical, and relatives wellness issues, SBHCs participate in an integral element in strategically addressing attendance problems.

Ohio is at this time home to more than 100 SBHCs throughout 25 counties, and that’s a very good start.

Prudent use of one-time federal Covid funds for initial funds and commence-up bills will assist develop these important products and services to far more Ohio communities, together with our Appalachian counties.

Spring is a time for healing and renewal and an possibility for our point out to renew and even more assistance SBHCs in extra Ohio communities.

Randy Runyon

President and CEO

Ohio Affiliation of

Group Health

Centers

Columbus, Ohio

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