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Montefiore in the News

February 14, 2013

Bronx Teens Speak Out about Importance of School-Based Health Centers 

ALBANY, NY (February 14, 2012) – Nearly 200 students enrolled in the Montefiore School Health Program from six Bronx schools gathered at the State Capital Building in Albany along with parents, health care practitioners, educators, and advocates to raise awareness for school-based health centers. The Montefiore School Health Program is the largest hospital-sponsored school health program in the country, providing comprehensive medical, dental, mental and community-based services to students and their families in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the Bronx.

The Montefiore school-based health centers tackle chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes and asthma, and provide primary care services, including immunizations, physicals and lab testing. An important element of the program is preventive health and education, which focuses on obesity and fitness and mental health services focusing on depression, anxiety, bereavement, crisis intervention and family issues are also available at each site.

“It is important that decision-makers hear directly from students about the value of school-based health centers,” said Rebecca Abraham, community health organizer, Montefiore School Health Program, who coordinated the effort. “Through Student Advocacy Day, students make their voices heard and represent their interests in continuing to have access to healthcare.”

The annual Student Advocacy Day is held during National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month, which highlights the work of more than 1,800 school-based health centers (SBHCs) across the country.  In Albany, the day began with a student Speak-Out where they shared stories and experiences in support of school health centers. Interspersed with the students speeches were awards for prominent legislators and supporters including Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and State Senator George Latimor. 

School-based health centers are patient-centered medical homes in schools and many children and families rely on SBHCs as their only source for basic health needs. SBHCs have been shown to improve school attendance while filling a gap in health services for children and teens. After the Speak-Out session, students met with Bronx legislators to share their stories directly and urge them to support New York State school-based health centers.

Montefiore Medical Center and the New York City Department of Education (DOE) work together to make the Montefiore School Health Program a reality. Montefiore is responsible for providing primary care services to the student population while DOE is responsible for providing maintenance and support to the health centers.