School health services play a critical role in ensuring that children and youth have access to high-quality, affordable health care. By providing medical, mental health, oral health, and youth development services on school campuses, school-based health centers (SBHCs) and other school health providers positively impact students’ health and learning. They address a wide variety of health needs, from asthma management to flu vaccination to teen pregnancy prevention. At the same time, SBHC staff and other school health personnel can act as key partners in efforts to address chronic absenteeism and promote a positive school climate.
This section has background on common issues related to health and learning, and tools that will help SBHCs and other school health providers develop and run high-quality services. The highlighted research is largely limited to SBHC outcomes, but other school health services have also demonstrated beneficial impacts.
For a detailed look at the connection between health and learning, see Charles E. Basch’s Healthier Students are Better Learners. In addition to individual chapters focused on specific health issues, the Executive Summary provides a useful overview. You can also download a report from the Education Commission of the States that details the importance of school health in closing the education and opportunity gap.
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