Public Policy

Students in Crisis: National Polling Data Show Majority of Voters Favor School-Based Health Centers

JANUARY 31, 2007 – AUGUSTA, MAINE – Representatives from Maine Assembly on School-Based Health Care today met with Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and Congressmen Michael Michaud and Thomas Allen t discuss national polling data that show the majority of American voters support school-based health centers – which bring health care int our schools. There are currently 29 school-based health centers in the State of Maine, according t Maine Assembly on School-Based Health Care.

The research, conducted by Lake Research Partners and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, was publicly released during a Capitol Hill legislation briefing hosted by the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care.

The polling data are only part of the story. "Catherine" is a high school student in Central Maine wh had not been t her primary care doctor in a few years. Just tw weeks ag she made a visit t her school's student health center where she received a check up for a cough. During the appointment she completed a health risk assessment – Catherine was willing t discuss risky behaviors she was engaging in and was willing t explore ways t reduce some of the serious health risks in her life. Her family doctor was elated when school health center staff communicated with her about the health center visit. The primary care provider commented that she had been trying t get this student int her office since middle school stating "It's great that she could access health care at school, when she was ready".

“Maine offers solid proof that school-based health centers are helping students t get the health care they need t be successful in school,” said Richard Veilleux, Executive Director of Maine Assembly on School-Based Health Care.

During today’s meeting, Mr. Veilleux als thanked Senator Olympia Snowe and Senator Susan Collins for co-sponsoring the SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CLINIC ESTABLISHMENT ACT that will provide authorization for federal funding for school-based health care centers. Both of Maine’s members of the US House of Representatives, Congressman Thomas Allen and Congressman Michael Michaud have als said they will sign on t this legislation.

The Lake Research Partners polling data demonstrated that voters believe that school-based health centers should provide a wide range of services from mental health – such as grief therapy, peer pressure, bullying and suicide prevention – t helping prevent and treat chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma.

“Voters here in Maine, and across the country, see school-based health centers as an important way t provide a service t children wh otherwise might not have access t care or wh might not seek care,” said Cathy Roland, Nurse Practitioner at the Oxford Hills Student Health Center. According to, Alysia Snell of Lake Research Partners. “… the level of support for providing health care in schools crosses demographic boundaries, including regional, party, and racial lines, pointing t voters' belief that schools are a well-chosen venue for bringing health care t children.”

Data from Maine and the 2004-2005 Census data from the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care show that the services school health centers provide mesh with what voters want.

“Parents want t be sure the health and safety of their children are protected and promoted while they are in school, which is precisely what school-based health centers do,” said John Schlitt, executive director of the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care.

About School-Based Health Centers

School-based health centers d four important things:
  • With parents’ permission, the centers provide basic quality health care services such as shots, asthma and diabetes management, nutrition advice, and mental health services such as grief therapy, help with peer pressure and bullying and suicide prevention.
  • They make sure students wh don’t get medical treatment anywhere else get it in school.
  • They give students medical attention when they need it, catching problems like asthma and diabetes now, preventing bigger problems later.
  • Most importantly, they keep students healthy and in class s they can learn what they need t know t succeed in life.
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