History

In 1994, Emory University received a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Primary Health Care (Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities) for the purpose of opening a comprehensive school-based health center at Whitefoord Elementary School in southeast Atlanta, Georgia.  The goal was to see students enrolled in the elementary school, in addition to neighborhood pre-school children.  The initial funding included the following staffing model:  a nurse/clinical manager; a mid-level provider (nurse practitioner/physician’s assistant); a part-time pediatrician; a social worker; a health educator; and a clerical specialist.  Over time, dental services (dentist and dental hygienist), and an LPN.  In 1998, funding was received to open Coan Middle School-Based Health Center.  Until 2013, these were the only two SBHCs in Georgia.  In 2009, the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University received an award from the Zeist Foundation.  The purpose of the award was to develop an Urban Health Program with the intent to increase access to quality primary health care, improve the delivery of health services, and improve the health outcomes for the children of Georgia.  One of the objectives was to increase the number of SBHCs across the state.  From 2009 – 2016, 37 school-based health center planning grants representing 41 Georgia counties were awarded to explore the development of a SBHC in their communities.  As a result of those planning grants, and with start-up funding from Healthcare Georgia Foundation, three comprehensive SBHCs were opened in 2013:  Lake Forest Elementary in Sandy Springs (Fulton County); Tiger Creek Elementary in Tunnel Hill (Catoosa County); and Turner Elementary in Albany (Dougherty County).  Since inception, these three centers combined have provided 6886 medical visits; over 554 mental health encounters; and 8,538 health education encounters for students, faculty, and staff.  Since 2015, 17 more comprehensive SBHCs have opened, including North Clayton High School (the first high school SBHC in Georgia).  Efforts are ongoing to develop SBHCs throughout Georgia.