Area school-based health centers celebrated during February |

Area school-based health centers celebrated during February

Staff report
Rachel Hickman

Mountain Family Health Centers has been recognizing National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month during February by offering medical, dental and behavioral health care at Avon Elementary School for all Eagle County Schools students.

Family Nurse Practitioner Rachel Hickman sees patients at the Avon School-Based Health Center, and says being able to provide care for kids at school makes it much easier to provide treatment.

Hickman often sees students during a class period that is convenient for students.

“It causes less disruption during the school day and for the family,” Hickman said in a news release.

Parents don’t always have to be present during an appointment, she said. And, being able to partner with teachers and administrators can sometimes help pinpoint what a student needs and when that parental assistance is appropriate.

“Like adjusting a child’s ADHD medication schedule, or addressing a toothache that’s keeping a student from focusing in class,” Hickman said.

Family Nurse Practitioner Jenny Lang is the director of Mountain Family’s school-based health programs in Glenwood Springs and Eagle County.

“What makes school-based health care so great is that we’re serving children in a place where they are already comfortable,” Lang said in the release. “There are fewer barriers to care, because students feel more comfortable with the provider and receive services more easily because this is their place, being at school.”

School-based dental services were also established at several area schools as part of the statewide SMILES Dental Project. Among them are Bea Elementary School and the Grand Valley Family Learning Center in Parachute.

Tracking at the Avon School-Based Health Center shows a steady increase in students receiving care on site, according to the release.

As of mid-2017, 792 users had seen a provider at that location. By mid-2018, 953 users had received care.

The School-Based Health Alliance highlights health care in schools each February to “recognize our success and raise awareness about how school-based health centers (SBHCs) are transforming health care delivery across the country.”

This year’s theme is “Healing Super Heroes Every School Day.” In a nutshell, the alliance argues it’s important to offer services in school, because “all children and adolescents deserve to thrive and grow into the super heroes we know they can be,” according to the 2019 campaign.

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