Columbus City Schools and Nationwide Children’s Hospital have announced an expanded partnership this week to provide school-based wellness programs as well as select health care services for students who do not have a medical home and those who do not routinely seek access to care via a primary care pediatrician. Services provided by Nationwide Children’s will be rolled out to several schools during the 2015-16 academic year.
The goals of the partnership are to enhance the overall health and wellness of children and adolescents, to improve students’ health promotion and access to care, and to improve academic outcomes. Nationwide Children’s care model will continue to focus on the importance of a permanent medical home for all children and will work in partnership with the school to connect children with a community physician.
Both Columbus City Schools and Nationwide Children’s Hospital share the common desire to make sure that students have the opportunity to access the care they need. Nationwide Children’s has made a commitment to provide wellness, prevention, behavioral health support and treatment in schools when appropriate. While parents should always consult with their child’s doctor about their treatment and care, the collective goal is to help enhance the amount of care schools are able to provide and identify ways to provide additional health and wellness support to families who may otherwise have challenges accessing care.
“Nationwide Children’s Hospital has always had a strong relationship with Columbus City Schools,” commented Steve Allen, MD, CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “The enhancement to our current partnership will focus on the wellness of children and adolescents, and promote the prevention of illness. Our overall goal is to improve access to care so children stay in school and improve academic outcomes.”
The care provided by Nationwide Children’s will be delivered by a nurse practitioner, clerical assistant, behavioral health clinician, as well as a school health liaison to ensure that services best meet the needs of Columbus City School students and families.
As part of this partnership, for primary care services, parents and students in eight schools will have access to a Nationwide Children’s nurse practitioner, who will partner with the school nurse to enhance care. Their credentials enable them to diagnose common ailments (such as strep throat and ear infection), prescribe medications and administer vaccines. The schools participating include: South High School, Marion Franklin High School, East High School, Columbus Scioto High School, Buckeye Middle School, Columbus Girls Prep, Ohio Elementary School and Livingston Elementary School.
Nationwide Children’s will also enhance health services for 11 elementary schools via its existing Mobile Unit. The Nationwide Children’s behavioral support includes both prevention and therapeutic interventions. In the elementary schools, behavioral health clinicians will assist first and second grade teachers in the administration of the evidence-based PAX Good Behavior Game. This prevention activity is credited with teaching students self-regulation and cooperation thereby creating a peaceful and productive classroom. In the middle and high schools, the behavioral health clinicians will facilitate the evidence-based Signs of Suicide (SOS) program. SOS empowers communities by teaching the warning signs of suicide and steps to take to seek help should teachers, parents or peers identify an adolescent considering suicide. Therapeutic interventions will also be available for students that can benefit from individual and family counseling.
Nationwide Children’s has always partnered with schools in the region to help schools meet their wellness goals (Sports Medicine, School Based Asthma Therapy, Behavioral Health). This expanded commitment from Nationwide Children’s will reach even more children than in the past and it will also aim to specifically address the current health and wellness needs of students. This partnership will address the needs of adolescents who currently do not have access to primary care services.