Blog Post 3/22/23
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New York SBHA conference highlights engagement, data innovations

Two of our staff members had the pleasure of attending the New York School-Based Health Alliance annual conference in Cooperstown, New York, on March 17 – 18.

Jacquelyn Christensen, our Vice President of Quality, Research & Evaluation, and Katherine Cushing, our Senior Program Manager in Quality, Research & Evaluation, appreciated the chance to talk with the people working in SBHCs every day and to meet in person people whom they had previously worked with only virtually. They were impressed with the presentations on topics such as improving data capacity and engaging families and youth.

“Relationships, connection, and building trust are at the heart of this work,” Christensen said. Attendees had great discussions about how to talk to families with vaccine hesitancy and what it truly means to be trauma-informed in clinical practice, she said.

“It was wonderful to hear relationships and partnership building come up again and again in the presentations in different ways – between SBHC staff and students, parents, school staff and leadership, and community stakeholders – and at the same time witness connections and partnerships growing between SBHCs across the state as they shared innovations and experiences,” Cushing said.

Attendees showed their camaraderie when they sang “Happy Birthday” to Dr. Chris Kjolhede, Co-Director of the School-Based Health Program at Bassett Healthcare Network in Cooperstown.

The conference’s theme focused on providing equitable health care amid post-pandemic challenges. Keynote speaker Dr. Heather Forkey of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center spoke about the need for increased skills in trauma-informed care to manage childhood response to trauma and promote resilience among children and families.

Here’s some of the great work being done in New York:

  • New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s School-Based Health Centers are rolling out online consent forms; engaging youth about mental health with a #sleepchallenge campaign and topics about gratitude and beating the winter blues; adapting for children an evidence-based treatment for addressing traumatic stress; and addressing barriers to clinician utilization.
  • Bassett Healthcare Network uses hands-on strategies and activities to connect and build trust with children and teens.
  • New York School-Based Health Foundation and Apex Evaluation are building a data repository and analytic tools for New York SBHCs to help document outcomes, identify gaps in care, and improve operations. As of January, 47% of New York SBHCs – 117 sites – are participating in the program.

“We know that this field is filled with people who do this work because it’s where their heart is,” Cushing said. “It was such a great experience to be gathered with so many people committed to supporting the health and well-being of students.”

Congratulations to sponsors NYSBHA, Bassett Healthcare Network, and Apex Evaluation on a great conference!

Jane Hamilton (from left) and Chris Kjolhede of Bassett Healthcare Network, Sarah Murphy of the New York School-Based Health Alliance, and Jacquelyn Christensen and Katherine Cushing of the national School-Based Health Alliance connected during the New York School-Based Health Alliance conference in Cooperstown March 17 – 18.