A vast array of child health professionals – 99,000 counselors, 56,000 nurses, 30,000 school psychologists, 15,000 social workers, as well as 1,800 school-based health centers and smaller numbers of dental hygienists, dentists, physicians, and substance abuse counselors – provide care to children and adolescents at school. These staff and others not only provide services but have embraced health promotion and disease prevention initiatives as well as implemented quality improvement and patient safety efforts to maximize the benefits of health programs at school.
School-based health programs offer a diverse range of services -- from part-time basic care provided by an unlicensed aide to a full-time comprehensive health center that offers preventive and treatment services in a variety of school settings. School nursing, school-based health centers, school mental health services, school dental-health services, the related (health) services of special education, and childhood overweight are all part of the health services spectrum and are addressed in these pages.
Health Promotion and prevention programs at school have been developed with particular energy by the Division of Adolescent and School Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Looking at the causes of adult and child ill health, CDC has supported cities and states to undertake prevention programs that target heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions by reducing their causes -- tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and obesity among children and youth. This section provides links to resources that address these topics.
Quality & Safety
These pages pay attention to quality and safety issues related to school health. According to a survey completed by 649 school nurses, 5.6 percent of children in grades K – 12 receive a medication at school on a typical school day. The larger number of children who now require medication during the school day have prompted a focus standards and practices that guide student care. The potential for continuous quality improvement (CQI) efforts to strengthen school health is also being explored. A CQI tool for school-based health centers has been developed; while school nurses have piloted protocols for asthma and diabetes management. Relevant school district and state policies are also being reviewed.