Celebrating RAHS and National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month

February 27, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

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Every February, the school-based health care community celebrates National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month — an opportunity to recognize success and raise awareness about how school-based health centers (SBHCs) are revolutionizing the way children and adolescents access physical and mental health services.

School-based health care brings vital services to where youth already spend the majority of their time: school. When health and education come together, great things happen.

Quick history

In 1992, there was a coordinated effort to develop a school-based health center in order to better meet the needs of students and their families in Washtenaw County.

Fast forward to today, when Michigan Medicine is providing comprehensive health services in 17 school-based health centers in Genesee and Washtenaw counties in partnership with eight school districts (Ann Arbor Public Schools, Lincoln Consolidated Schools, Ypsilanti Community Schools, Carman Ainsworth Community Schools, Richfield Public School Academy, Beecher Community Schools, Kearsley Community Schools and International Academy of Flint).

The collaboration with Michigan Medicine, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Department of Education and these school districts has enabled the Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools (RAHS) program to grow. (Click here to learn more about RAHS.)

The mission of RAHS

RAHS is dedicated to providing school-based health programs and clinical services that improve the well-being of students, their families and communities.

“RAHS provides comprehensive, evidenced-based and community-anchored health services to address health issues, social determinants of health and barriers to accessing quality care,” said Anginique Spence, director of RAHS and assistant director of Community Health Services. “RAHS coordinates with primary care providers and community resources for continuity, minimizing or eliminating care gaps.”

So what do patients think about RAHS? Here’s just a sampling of feedback the team has received:

  • “I really like the RAHS health center because I feel comfortable here and because the workers show me respect. I also appreciate that they don’t judge me.”
  • “The nurses are amazing and friendly. They made me feel safe and secure, and always let me know what was going on.”
  • “I would strongly recommend any teenager with health issues to visit this center. Adding vision and dental services to an already great health center was super helpful to my family!”

Facts about school-based health care in Michigan

  • 196 total school-based/school-linked centers and programs currently exist; 100 are state-funded
  • 52 percent of Michigan counties have an adolescent school-based health program
  • Services include immunizations, mental health care, primary care, health education services and more.
  • School-based health centers serve as a pediatric office located in a school that is staffed by practitioners (physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants) and other licensed professionals.
  • They are often located in areas where families are economically disadvantaged and struggle to access medical services.

The benefits of school-based health care

  • Addresses social determinants of health for underserved populations
  • Increases student attendance and graduation rates
  • Improves overall school performance
  • Succeeds in preventing and treating conditions such as obesity and asthma
  • Reduces hospitalization and emergency care usage
  • Improves mental health

For more information, please check out the resources below. And stay tuned to Headlines as more information about RAHS is shared in the coming months!

What is School-based Health (video)

Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools

School-Based Health Alliance Fact Sheets

Michigan Department of Community Health

Governor Whitmer Declares February is School-based Health Center Awareness Month!