By Janelle Williamson (December 11, 2018) Last week at Crane’s monthly research forum, we heard from Dr. Noelle Arnold (Associate Dean, Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community/Associate Professor, Department of Educational Studies). Crane Center Research Forums are held monthly throughout the university calendar year, and feature researchers from across the university to showcase their research and its impact on children.
Dr. Arnold (left) spoke on her investigation of Louisiana’s School Community-Based Health Centers (SCBHC). In the late 1990’s/early 2000’s, the state of Louisiana began an initiative to put School-Based Health Centers (SCBHCs) in its public schools (read more here). Dr. Arnold investigates the process of SCBHCs delivering health care to students, using a variety of data sources including observations, health centers marketing materials, school principal interviews etc.
The study found that among health service usage, 42% was family care, 75% mental health, 85% immunizations, 93% health screenings and 97% comprehensive (primary) care. How families used the clinics depended on a variety of factors, including the proximity of the clinic to the principal’s office, whether or not the clinic was open daily, and the marketing and promotional materials of each clinic.
While the clinics provided many services, not all of them were used by families in their fullest capacity. One of the main limitations of this initiative is that there was not a single unifying message from the clinics as a whole. Marketing, promotion and encouragement of use varied from school to school. Dr. Arnold suggests treating the schools that have SCBHC as a cohort, and training the teachers and staff at all of these schools to promote the clinic and provide health information to families in a unified manner.