With initial funding from the John Rex Endowment, in 2010 YES! launched its newest initiative focused on increasing access to health care through environmental and policy change. Naturally, it became a fit for the Access to Health Care (Access) Initiative to research, advocate for, and support school-based and school-linked health centers (SBHCs) as a means of systemic change.
SBHCs are essentially doctors offices established on the grounds of schools set up to provide primary care. Centers play a major role in triaging, diagnosing and managing chronic illnesses. They are set up to serve all students at a school, and sometimes the larger community, but are primarily established to serve youth that are uninsured and enrolled in Medicaid.
Since the inception of the Access Initiative, the team has been working to establish a SBHC in Wake County. This has included leading community health assessments, creating and maintaining the Wake SBHC Task Force, developing relationships with both the health care and educational communities and engaging the local community to support this. In doing this, the team has developed a series of core youth trainings: SBHC 101, Access 202, and Media Literacy and Health Care. Learn more about these trainings.
The team is currently developing a free toolkit to help youth and adults work effectively together to advocate for increased access to health care in their communities. The initiative is also finalizing a position paper called School-Based Health Centers and the Intersection of Youth Empowerment and Health Care.
The Access team has presented three consecutive times at the National Convention on School-Based Health Care and received a 2013 Citizen Award from Indy Week newspaper for making the Triangle a better place to live, work and learn.