The school-linked health center: A promising model of community-based care for adolescents

Kate Fothergill, Elisa Ballard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the nature of the linkages between school-linked health centers (SLHCs) and schools; the centers' services, staffing, financing, and other operational details; and the advantages of this model of care. Method: Twenty-one SLHCs completed a written survey on a range of operational issues, including types of services provided, staffing patterns, budgets, and populations served in 1995. The researchers conducted on-site interviews with six centers and telephone interviews with 14 centers to obtain more detailed information. Results: Although each SLHC has a unique program design, the study identified characteristics common to all sites. In general, SLHCs provide comprehensive medical, reproductive health, mental health, and health education services designed for adolescents. Staffed with a minimum of an administrator, a primary care provider, a nurse, and an administrative assistant, SLHCs serve students from more than one school as well as out-of-school youth. SLHCs develop formal and/or informal linkages with schools to improve outreach and follow-up services. Conclusions: The report describes a community-based model of care that is designed to provide affordable, age-appropriate, confidential, convenient care to adolescents, a population that traditionally has been very hard to reach. The SLHC's ability to provide reproductive health care makes it an attractive option for communities trying to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents. To firmly conclude that the SLHC is an effective model for improving adolescent access to services, more research is needed on adolescents' use and nonuse of SLHCs and other models of care; the cost of SLHCs compared to other models of care; and how SLHCs can sustain themselves financially, particularly in a managed care environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1998


  • Access to health care
  • Adolescents
  • Comprehensive services
  • High-risk youth
  • Mental health services
  • Reproductive health
  • School-based health centers
  • School-linked health centers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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