Special Education M.A.

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Silmser, Lisa

Second Reader

Nathan Elliott;


School-based health centers (SBHCs) improve health equity by increasing access to primary care and eliminating many barriers that underserved students often face. Convenience, confidentiality, and cost are just some of the benefits of this school-based care. Medical services offered by SBHCs include treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, chronic disease management, and preventative care services such as well-child visits, immunizations, obesity screenings, reproductive and sexual health care, vision screenings, and oral health care. SBHCs initiate programs in schools and the community to promote healthy behaviors, like more physical activity, better nutrition, and prevention and early intervention of substance use. Students’ mental health needs can also be met through SBHC utilization. Research suggests that SBHCs may impact academic outcomes and the overall learning environment. In order to successfully reach underserved youth, we must examine who is utilizing SBHCs and identify the most effective service delivery models. Collaboration between SBHC staff, school nurses, administrators, and teachers is integral to the success of SBHC programs. Finally, schools must find innovative ways to fund and staff SBHCs and make use of available resources to expand health services for all students. Through SBHCs, we can eliminate barriers and alleviate health disparities for socioeconomically disadvantaged adolescents.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis