The April 2017 edition of Health Affairs features an article about Interact for Health’s work starting school-based health centers. In “School-Based Health Centers: A Funder’s View Of Effective Grant Making,” Susan Sprigg, Francie Wolgin, Jennifer Chubinski and Kate Keller share the lessons learned by Interact in its nearly 20 years of funding SBHCs. These include finding the right health care provider to work with interested school districts, doing thorough planning, engaging the community and applying proven guidelines to make the SBHCs sustainable.
Health status and academic achievement have been found to be linked: When students have poor health status, they are at increased risk for poor academic outcomes. The school-based health center is a delivery model that supports improved access to health care, as well as healthy behaviors and outcomes, for students. Interact for Health is a private foundation that has provided funding to open school-based health centers in the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio, area since 1999. This article outlines grant-making strategies and effective policies that the foundation has identified as most conducive to creating sustainable school-based health centers. These include identification of the right partners, development of a business plan, and guidelines and policies that support long-term financial sustainability.