219414 Role of School-based Health Centers in addressing school dropout: A content analysis

Monday, November 8, 2010

Leslie A. Mandel, PhD , Massachusetts Coalition of School-based Health Centers, Waltham, MA
Kym Williams, MPH , Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Antonia Blinn , MA Coalition of School-Based Health Centers, Boston
Nancy Carpenter, MPH , MA Coalition of School-Based Health Centers, Boston
Eileen O'Keefe, MD, MPH , Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MA
School dropout is epidemic, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities. Located in poor and medically-underserved areas, School-based Health Centers (SBHCs) can play a pivotal role in reducing school dropout through primary prevention, early identification and multidisciplinary interventions. Yet, SBHCs are a largely unrecognized resource. Due to a confluence of factors impacting academic performance in conjunction with methodological limitations, SBHCs are challenged to document their direct contributions to dropout prevention. A targeted initiative in Massachusetts is underway to promote awareness of the role that the health sector, especially SBHCs can play in reducing dropout.

A content analysis of three years (06-07, 07-08, 08-09) of annual reports submitted by 45 Massachusetts SBHCs was conducted to: identify terms and themes typically associated with academic performance, assess integration patterns between SBHCs, schools and communities, and document shifts in SBHC activities to reflect concurrent dropout prevention policy efforts.

Preliminary results indicate three mechanisms through which utilization of SBHC services appear to address academic concerns. 1. Collaborative programs to tackle prevention of health issues most associated with dropout; 2. Early identification of academic risk potential assessed via medical visits; and 3. Referrals to SBHC by school staff for presentation of academic behaviors with possible health linkages. Results also show academic behavior changes following on-going medical treatment. SBHCs are increasingly re-directing and reporting their work associated with academic performance and health-services delivery.

This study offers a more systematic understanding of the pathways through which school dropout can be addressed and modified by collaborative efforts with SBHCs.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate a novel analytic approach to documenting the direct impact of health services on academic issues. 2. Describe the potential of a public health prevention model as it relates to the issues of school dropout and the roll that SBHCs can play. 3. Discuss a conceptual framework to plan, navigate, and describe SBHC contributions to the learning environment.

Keywords: School-Based Health Care, Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked conducted research pertaining to school-based health and have numberous years of clinical and teaching experience.
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.