176933 Large-scale school-linked health care program to increase teen access to sexual and reproductive health care

Monday, October 27, 2008

Allyna B. Steinberg, MPH , NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Bronx, NY
Philip M. Alberti, PhD , District Public Health Office, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY
School-linked health care (SLHC) is one strategy used to increase teen access to sexual and reproductive health care. In one model program, a team from a local clinic divided its time between the clinic and nearby schools and provided education, counseling, referrals and medical services, which resulted in significant reduction in the teen pregnancy rate among students at program schools. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) adapted this model whereby NYCDOHMH staff working in public high school condom availability programs are also stationed at local health centers.

Implementation began in the South Bronx with an assessment of the local health care services and identification of potential SLHC clinical partners. Partner criteria included (1)-providing basic sexual and reproductive health care services and (2)-dispensing hormonal contraception–both regardless of teens' ability to pay and without parental consent as protected by NY law. For evaluation, established SLHC clinical partners were asked to provide service data and collect referral tickets given by NYCDOHMH staff in the schools.

In the 2006-07 school year, NYCDOHMH staff connected eight high schools with two SLHC clinical partners with a successful referral rate of almost 50% and with one clinical partner showing service rates that surpassed levels seen in the previous two years. In the 2007-08 school year, the program was expanded to include fifteen high schools and four clinical partners.

Preliminary data support that SLHC is a promising strategy while difficulties with consistent clinical service provision highlight the challenge of the NYCDOHMH partnership model.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1. Describe the components of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (NYCDOHMH’s) School-linked Health Care (SLHC) program to improve teen access to sexual and reproductive health care; 2. Develop and implement a local assessment of the health care services available to teens seeking sexual and reproductive health care and identify potential SLHC clinical partners; and 3. Weigh the benefits and challenges of the NYCDOHMH model to guide local adaptations of SLHC.

Keywords: Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I played a major role in program development/implementation and currently head up the evaluation of the School Linked Health Care program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.