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Let's talk school-based health centers

Douglas P. Perkins
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Going to school when you don’t feel good or have significant stress can make learning hard. A national study hasranked New Mexico 50th when it comes to child well-being. That encompasses economic well being, education and health among other factors. The state has struggled with keeping kids in school and keeping them up to grade level learning expectations. That same report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked the state last in education and 39th in health.

However, school-based health centers may be a solution to help keep kids healthy and in school. These centers offer accessible health care for students and can be a safety net for those who otherwise wouldn’t get the care they need.

School-based health centers deliver a range of services like vaccines, asthma management, and early detection when it comes to preventing bigger health problems down the road. They also provide behavioral health services by offering therapy, helping with bullying, substance abuse programs, and suicide prevention. And, after returning from remote learning, over 80% of schools nationwide are reporting chronic behavior issues like classroom disruptions and acts of disrespect towards educators and staff.

Right now, New Mexico has more than 70 school-based health centers but advocates and policy makers are pushing to expand that access to every school.

On this week’s Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll take a look at the impact of school-based health centers, hear from folks who have used them, and we’ll discuss what it would take to implement these centers statewide. And we want to hear from you! What has your experience been like trying to find quality healthcare for your child? Did you struggle as a child with health issues that impacted your ability to consistently go to school? Are you a healthcare provider that works in a school based clinic or has seen the benefit of them? Email us at LetsTalk@kunm.org, tweet using #LetsTalkNM or call in live during the show at 505-277-5866.


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Taylor is a reporter with our Poverty and Public Health project. She is a lover of books and a proud dog mom. She's been published in Albuquerque The Magazine several times and enjoys writing about politics and travel.