Key Findings About Our Health Centers
Since 1998, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency has partnered with a team from the University of California, San Francisco’s Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the county’s school health centers. The evaluation aims to document:
1) the demographic profile of school health center clients;
2) what services clients receive;
3) whether the frequency, dosage or type of service received affects client health outcomes; and
4) whether the provision of school-based health services leads to improved health access, health status and health behaviors, increased resilience/protective factors, decreased risk behaviors, and improved educational outcomes.
Evaluation data is collected through a standardized school health center database and surveys with school health center clients and the school population. The information below is pulled from a summary of the key findings from data collected in the six School Health Centers in Oakland Unified School District from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, and includes additional data from 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 for comparison.
Increase in Use
Between the 2006-07 and 2009-10 school years, the number of clinic visits increased by 82 percent and
clients served increased 52 percent. This translated into an increase in the number of visits per client, from
5.1 to 6.2.
Growth in use of school health center use from 2006 to 2010.
SHCs Improve Access to Care
In 2009-10, SHC users were more likely than non-users to report that in the past year they “always” or “sometimes” received health services when they needed them:
- Counseling to help them deal with issues like stress, depression, family problems, or alcohol or drug use (55% vs. 43%, p<0.004).
- Help with reproductive health issues like birth control/condoms or testing for pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (66% vs. 40%, p<0.001).
- Medical care when they were sick, hurt or needed a check-up (82% vs. 78%; not significant).
Types of Services Provided
In 2009-10, over one-third of client visits were for mental health (37 percent), 30 percent were for medical/health education visits, 27 percent for first aid, and 7 percent for group visits. Of the medical services received during medical/health education visits, 83 percent were for medical services (such as family planning, sports physicals, chronic disease management and primary care services), and 16 percent were for health education. The majority (78 percent of medical/health education visits included family planning services.
In 2009-10, nearly all clients reported that they like having the SHC at their school (99 percent) and would
recommend it to their friends (97 percent). Nearly all agreed that they can turn to the SHC staff for advice
or information (98 percent) and that they are easier to talk to than other doctors or nurses (98 percent). They
also reported that the SHCs helped them to get information they needed (99 percent) and help sooner than
they would otherwise (98 percent).
SHCs Improve Resiliency and Academic Indicators
In 2009-10, most clients reported that they “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that the SHCs helped them have goals and plans for the future (93 percent), do better in school (89 percent), and deal with personal and/or
family issues (87 percent).
To promote student development and resiliency, the SHCs offer a variety of youth development and empowerment programs. The number of programs has fluctuated slightly over the past four years (7
in 2006-07, 12 in 2007-08, 10 in 2008-09, and 13 in 2009-10). In 2009-10, participants reported significant (p<0.001) improvement in several academic and school connectedness factors after participation in the youth development programs, as shown in the table below.
Students also shared personal reflections about how the programs impacted them. One respondent shared, “[The program] helped me become more of a leader and improved my speaking skills.” Another respondent expressed that the best part of the program was “being able to have an environment where I can open up to other people that I trust.”
Please click here to read the full report produced by the evaluation.
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