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Glob Pediatr Health. 2019 Feb 19;6:2333794X19828745. doi: 10.1177/2333794X19828745. eCollection 2019.

The Evidence on School-Based Health Centers: A Review.

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Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA.


Context. Pediatricians working toward health equity require health care delivery mechanisms that take on dual roles: mitigating the health effects of a maladaptive social ecosystem while simultaneously working to improve the ecosystem itself. School-based health centers (SBHCs) perform these dual roles by providing medical, mental/behavioral, dental, and vision care directly in schools where young people spend the majority of their time, maximizing their opportunity to learn and grow. Evidence Acquisition. Databases were searched extensively for research studies published between January 2000 and December 2018. Evidence Synthesis. The authors began with 3 recent high-impact reviews that covered SBHC history, health outcomes, cost-benefit, and impact on health equity. Informed by these articles, the authors organized the evidence into 4 broad categories of impact: Financial, Physical Health (including medical, vision, and dental), Mental Health, and Educational Outcomes. Using these 4 categories, the authors then performed a robust literature search using PubMed for studies that fit into these themes. Conclusions. SBHCs increase access to health services for children, families, and communities, which ultimately leads to positive short- and long-term outcomes in service of a broad range of stakeholders. Educational impact requires further attention on both outcomes and methodological approaches. Three current public health topics of importance were identified that SBHCs might be well-suited to address: Youth Gun Violence, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and the Health of American Indian/Alaskan Native communities in the United States.


American Indian and Alaskan native health; adverse childhood experiences; behavioral health; gun violence; mental health; school based health

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Declaration of Conflicting Interests: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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