School Based Health Centers

Engaging in scaling and innovation within this well-evidenced national model, Education Plus Health works to increase access to healthcare and better health by addressing the needs of medically underserved children through a network of nurse practitioner-managed school health centers. The presence of primary healthcare at school encourages children— especially those who are struggling with chronic illness —to stay in school and reach their full academic potential. Education Plus Health partners with host schools to deliver primary care and chronic disease management to underserved children in their natural school setting.

Education Plus Health serves over 7,000 students in school based health centers in Philadelphia public, charter, and private schools. In many of these centers, the organization employs a hybrid model of school nursing and primary care delivered by a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner and a Licensed Practical Nurse. Nurse practitioners are advance practice nurses with training and clinical expertise in diagnosing and treating health conditions blended with a focus on disease prevention and health management.

Community Focused

Nurse Practitioners provide acute care, render diagnoses, write prescriptions and make appropriate referrals, develop and implement treatment plans, provide preventive care as needed and chronic disease management, and fulfill all of the school health reporting requirements. Adolescents receive sexual health education and services including STD testing and treatment, pregnancy tests, and condoms. Health center teams provide universal mental health screening and referral, with brief treatment therapeutic services offered in select schools.

The school based health centers work to collaborate with PCPs (primary care providers) and specialists, to wrap and support the student’s medical home for enhanced and improved health outcomes. Through the program’s electronic health record, medical providers receive visit summaries and updates on care provided in the school based health center. Each team works to ensure that students struggling with asthma and other health conditions get the quality of health care that they need to succeed in school and life.

Our Impact

The Education Plus Health school based health center offers an innovative alternative to traditional school nursing. The nurses are advanced practice registered nurse practitioners who provide primary care and coordinate care with students’ medical homes, and fulfill all of the school health reporting requirements including state-mandated screenings

In the early stages of scaling and replication, Education Plus Health School Based Health Centers seek to (1) increase schools’ compliance with school nursing mandates related to student health screening, immunizations, and annual care; (2) decrease emergency room use and hospitalization of asthmatic students; and (3) decrease absenteeism.

Long term partner schools have found a 64% decrease in absenteeism among asthmatic students.

Education Plus Health is a member and the emerging affiliate for Pennsylvania of the national School-Based Health Alliance. The School-Based Health
Alliance has been the national voice for school based health care since 1995. Education Plus Health is working with the support of the Alliance to advance
policies and frameworks in Pennsylvania that enable the growth of school based health centers across the state.

To bring a School Based Health Center to your school, contact Julie Cousler, Executive Director at