School Health

Express Scripts awards $350,000 to the new Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance


The funds will help the emerging Missouri organization build infrastructure to support and expand high-performing health centers in schools statewide

Health Equity Works (formerly For the Sake of All) is pleased to announce a $350,000 grant award from Express Scripts to help build statewide infrastructure for the new Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance of Missouri (SMSBHA-Missouri).

The grant was awarded to Washington University through Health Equity Works, which has been providing preliminary technical assistance to the new organization. The Express Scripts funding will support hiring of staff, marketing, and increased infrastructure for the statewide group. SMSBHA-Missouri is currently an emerging affiliate of the National School-Based Health Alliance, and expects to achieve its full affiliate status within the next year.

“Express Scripts is honored to support this critical work and to help provide access to one of the most basic needs of a community. As a healthcare company, we are continually looking for ways to improve the overall health and access to healthcare for future generations. We believe school-based programming starts to meet that need for students who may otherwise not have access.” said Susan Stith, vice president diversity, inclusion and corporate giving.

The new Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance of Missouri will support communities in building and sustaining school-based health programs statewide by:

  • Providing education and technical assistance to emerging and existing school-based health care programs;
  • Facilitating best practices for school-based health programs;
  • Advocating for policy supporting school-based health care.

There are currently more than 150 known school-based health care efforts in Missouri, but efforts have had little statewide coordination.

“This funding will help us create a statewide organization that can fully support the creation and continued success of high-performing school-based health centers. It will help unite efforts in urban, rural, and suburban communities to promote student health and school success statewide,” said Melissa Randol, executive director of Missouri School Boards’ Association and co-chair of SMSBHA-Missouri’s executive committee.

“Express Scripts is helping to build a statewide system that will increase student access to high quality medical care that specifically targets their physical and mental health needs. The creation of the Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance is a significant milestone for Missouri students, educators, and health care providers,” said Melodie Donatelli, executive director – access at BJC HealthCare Center for Clinical Excellence and co-chair of SMSBHA-Missouri’s executive committee.

The creation of a statewide organization to support school-based health centers is part of a long-term strategy fostered by Health Equity Works as a way to further address health disparities in the St. Louis region and statewide. In the St. Louis region, Health Equity Works convened key stakeholders in an ongoing work group to develop a coordinated plan to provide better access to needed health services for youth in high-need areas. Research suggests school-based health centers provide critical access to health care, which can improve student attendance and educational outcomes. The Missouri School Boards’ Association also was working toward a similar goal through its statewide School-Based Health Center Task Force composed of school board members, community organizations, and state government agencies. The groups merged and aligned their efforts this past year.

The St. Louis area work group encouraged collaborative partnerships to support existing school-based health centers and to open new ones in the St. Louis region. In September 2017, multiple partners celebrated the opening of a new health center in Normandy High School. Two more opened last month in Hazelwood East High School and Riverview Gardens High School. Those school-based health centers were made possible through partnerships between the school districts, Christian Hospital and Christian Hospital Foundation, and CareSTL Health. Health Equity Works conducted needs assessments for the health centers at the high schools.

Since its inception in February, the Show-Me School Based-Health Alliance – Missouri has developed a statewide board of directors consisting of volunteer school-based health care advocates from education, health care, community health, behavioral health, managed care, child advocacy, and state and local government. SMSBHA-Missouri plans to host quarterly statewide meetings to share best practices and provide a space for learning and networking among the many school-based health care efforts happening in Missouri.

“Express Scripts understands that school-based health centers can significantly support student well-being and learning. We are thankful for their foresight in investing in state infrastructure that will amplify impact for Missouri youth,” said Dr. Jason Purnell, director of Health Equity Works.

Click here to learn more about Health Equity Works’ efforts to create healthy schools.

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