By Arielle Levin Becker | March 10, 2017
To Norwich Superintendent of Schools Abby Dolliver, the three health clinics that operated inside her district’s public schools provided more than health care.
Students who needed help with their asthma, or a physical or a strep test, could get care from a nurse practitioner without having to leave school – a major convenience for parents who would otherwise have to leave work to take their kids to a doctor’s office.
Children who needed help dealing with trauma or other mental health issues could get counseling on site – and a sense, Dolliver said, that the schools supported them.
“The need is greater than what we have the availability to do ourselves in schools,” Dolliver said.
School-based health centers – which provide medical and mental health care and sometimes dental services and health education, often in schools with many low-income or high-risk students – have historically received widespread backing from policymakers in Connecticut. Research has linked them with improved academic performance and graduation rates, as well as better health measures, such as higher vaccination rates, reduced asthma complications and lower emergency department use.