Success Stories: Keeping Our Communities Healthy
SBHCs address a wide range of health and mental health concerns. Below are just a few examples.
(In some cases names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the patients)
Medical Success Stories
Buffalo: An 8 year-old girl who was feeling sick was sent to the school-based health center. She was diagnosed with strep throat, but without health insurance her family could not pay for treatment. The center’s medical staff provided the child with the appropriate medical care, including a 10-day supply of medication. She got better, was able to stay in school learning and avoided the dire consequences of untreated strep throat.Long Island: A 16-year-old immigrant from El Salvador had lost 32 pounds in 10 months when she sought assistance at her school-based health center. She was given a complete physical exam, nutritional guidance, and information about eating disorders. After weekly counseling and medical appointments, as well as counseling with translation services for her mother, the student regained 25 pounds and stabilized her weight.
New York City: Laura came to the clinic for her routine 12-year-old annual physical exam. Like nearly 40% of U.S. teenagers, because Laura was growing well and seemed healthy, it is unlikely that her mom would have taken her to her pediatrician for routine care. However, her SBHC recognizes that preventive care and screening are essential for early diagnosis and treatment. As part of Laura’s annual exam, she received a recommended screening blood count, which was positive for anemia. The nurse practitioner at her SBHC was concerned and had Laura return for a follow up visit, at which point the anemia was worse. Further testing in coordination with her primary pediatrician led to a diagnosis of Leukemia. Laura is now undergoing treatment and has an excellent prognosis due to this early identification.
Rochester: A woman with HIV brought her three children to the SBHC seeking assistance. The woman spoke very little English; however the nurse’s assistant communicated with her in Spanish. The center provided the mother with referrals for health care and counseling for HIV and for depression. The children were given updated immunizations and comprehensive physicals at the SBHC. The center even helped to arrange housing for the family.
Mental Health Success Story
New York City: Lisa is a 13-year-old Latina who was referred to the SBHC by her paternal grandmother for assessment of anxious behavior, frequent lying, poor peer relationships, and inability to accept responsibility for own behavior. Lisa was raised by her grandmother since the age of 2 when her father passed away. Her mother was not part of her life until recently. She has no siblings. Lisa has a paternal uncle with whom she no longer has any contact after he severely physically punished her leading to child protective services intervention and subsequent removal from the home. During the initial evaluation Lisa was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder. She also presented with symptoms of anxiety, conduct disorder and depressive mood. Her treatment goals included decreasing anxiety and depressive symptoms, addressing symptoms of trauma and grief along with improving communication skills and developing positive peer relationships. As a result of the interventions, she has been able to develop trusting relationships with her peers, grandmother, and other adults, her grades improved and she has been promoted to high school. She has learned how to communicate more effectively and increased her self-esteem/self confidence. Throughout the two years of therapy, she was linked with various clinic providers to address medical concerns. As issues came up, referrals and consultations were facilitated. Her school community played a key role in allowing access to care and resolving conflicts.
Dental Success Story
Cooperstown: A familiar student arrives at the clinic for a dental visit. As he settles in the dental chair, he grabs a stress ball, turns on his music and puts on his shades. Today, he presents with no pain, no new dental caries, sealants gracing his molars, and the enamel breakdown is under control due to fluoride varnish. As a third grader, he had several cavities, dental pain, poor diet and oral hygiene. What was most striking was his extreme dental fear and anxiety. Over the years, our school-based dental team has built trust and rapport. He has showed slow improvement as we have worked on several aspects of his oral health. Beyond the clinical care, the dental hygienist has met with his family, arranged appointments for care, and listened to his troubles. When we met, he was 8, he is now 17. Because of school-based health this young man has his teeth, is free from pain, and has the knowledge to continue prevention of disease.
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