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School-Based Health Care


School-based health care is an effective strategy for reaching underserved students. Studies show school-based health care positively impacts students in many areas:

  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Increased access to preventive and mental health care
  • Increased care coordination and referral completion
  • Reduced costs for Medicaid programs
  • Reduced emergency and urgent care visits 
  • Increased health knowledge among students

Recognizing the important role these programs play in the health and wellness of Colorado’s children, the Colorado Health Foundation launched a $10.8 million initiative in June 2009 to support school-based health care in communities throughout Colorado. The initiative concluded in 2013. Watch a webinar about the initiative’s final evaluation.

The initiative supported the planning and implementation of more than 40 new school-based health programs. Based on the number of students currently served by the 45 existing school-based health centers in Colorado, it is estimated that these new programs will serve an additional 15,000 students each year.

Funding was used to support the development of new school-based health centers and/or the integration of mental or dental health services into existing school-based health centers. In some cases, the initiative supported the development of mental and/or dental health services that are not part of a comprehensive school-based health center but that are coordinated with other community-based primary care services.

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