A Firsthand look at a Traditional School Based Health Center

Categories: Adolescent health care, HPV vaccine, SBHCs

July 27, 2015 — By Keren Mahgerefteh

Posters in bright colors with helpful information, Pixar’s Up playing on T.V. and friendly staff is what I saw and experienced when I visited the traditional school based health center (SBHC) on John Marshall High School campus which is affiliated with Asian Pacific Health Care Venture.  This was my first time being in a traditional SBHC, which focuses on adolescent health.  The difference I would say between this model and a wellness center (which I blogged about before) is the teen friendly atmosphere and the fact that it is not opened to community members. You could view the traditional SBHC as a pediatrician’s office and a wellness center as a family practice office.  The benefit of a traditional SBHC is that staff can focus on a teen approach and specialize in the concerns that teens have and are associated with keeping them safe and healthy as students and individuals in society.  I learned during my tour that the nurse’s office at the school, even though is not located next to the wellness center, is a great source of referral to SBHC visits.  It was wonderful to see these two entities working symbiotically.

Further, another strong point of the SBHC was the posters and pamphlets I saw in the waiting room.  Many times when a patient goes in to see a healthcare provider they have to wait for a while before they are called in, and while doing so, the posters allow for students to learn new facts and ideas.  The posters allow for students to think about different health issues and concerns they might face.  It is also a good way for them to open dialogue with their healthcare provider about issues regarding sexual and mental health.  I was also happy to hear that the HPV vaccination is offered at Marshall High School SBHC.  Currently as a part of my internship projects I am working on creating a factsheet regarding HPV vaccinations.  I hope my factsheet will be able to teach people in a quick glance about HPV and the importance of getting vaccinated.  Under CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines, all boys and girls aged 11 and 12 years old and older should get vaccinated with the HPV vaccine.  The shot comes in three doses and is convenient to receive because of having an SBHC on campus that offers the vaccine and is covered by health insurance.  It is also great that since January 2012 under California law, a minor 12 years of age and older does not need a parent’s consent to receive the HPV vaccine.  This allows students a chance to visit the SBHC without needing their parents to come with them, allowing their parents the ability to not miss work for their child’s doctor visit.  This also allows for a student to take control over their own health and be independent about receiving care. SBHCs are a great way to deliver healthcare to the student population.

After seeing the traditional SBHC, I was very impressed and would like to see more of this model of adolescent focused care implemented in other locations.


KerenKeren Mahgerefteh is a second year Master of Public Policy Student at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.  Keren’s academic and professional interests focus on health policy, in particular providing access and high quality care to vulnerable populations. Currently she serves as a School Health Policy Graduate Student Intern for The L.A. Trust for Children’s Health.  Keren earned her B.A. in Political Science at the University of California, Irvine.



Student Health = Student Success