County, Schools and Community Coming Together to Improve School-Based Health Services
April 17, 2006
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A group of agencies and organizations in Contra Costa is banding together to improve the local system of school-based health services, an effort that may be boosted by pending state legislation.
"Many different agencies are providing school-linked and school-based health services in Contra Costa," said Ahna Suleiman, Manager of Contra Costa Health Services' TeenAge Programs. "Working together, we can maximize our resources, share lessons learned, and expand and improve school-based health services."
The countywide group had its first meeting March 28 in Martinez and is seeking new partners who provide school-based mental, dental, physical or reproductive health services. Such agencies and organizations are encouraged to contact Suleiman to join the group at email@example.com or 925-313-6189.
Some of those invited so far include Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS); the school board and school nurse from West Contra Costa Unified School District; community groups like New Connections, Planned Parenthood and Asian Pacific Psychological Counseling; and teachers and staff at DeAnza High, El Cerrito High, Pinole Valley High and Riverview Middle Schools.
Contra Costa County was one of five communities statewide selected by the California School Health Centers Association (CSHCA, schoolhealthcenters.org) to work on improving school-based health locally. Contra Costa's work will be supported by with three years of funding from The California Endowment.
The CSHCA is also a sponsor of Assembly Bill 2560, the School Health Centers Act of 2006, which support and strengthen school-based health services. The bill was passed April 4 by the Assembly Health Committee and is scheduled April 26 to go before the Assembly Education Committee.
School-based health services can greatly increase access to health care for children by placing youth-friendly services at schools, where young people spend a lot of time.
For more information about school-based health services in Contra Costa County, visit the CCHS website at cchealth.org and click on Services and then TeenAge Program.
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- Ahna Suleiman