May 25, 2016; Albuquerque, NM: When you think of school-based health care what comes to mind is usually sports physicals and immunization shots. What you don’t think about is the New Mexico Alliance of School-based Health Care (NMASBHC), a state-wide group that advocates for continued and expanded services to assure that students have access to the care they need to be healthy.
Recently, NMASBHC named Susan Wilger to its board. Wilger is the Associate Director of the Southwest Center for Health Innovation (CHI), located in Silver City. Along with fellow board member Amanda Frost from Lordsburg, Wilger will be a proponent for the health needs of students in the southwest region of the state.
Wilger said, “I am thrilled to be back on the NMASBHC board and to advocate for this important and valued service for New Mexico youth and children.” This is her third term on the NMASBHC board, previously Wilger served from 2009 to 2015.
NMASBHC believes that students’ health is key to their academic success. Unfortunately, adolescents were the least likely age group to access health care, according to the New Mexico School-based Health Centers’ Status Report 2015. Because of this fact, many of adolescents physical and behavioral health needs go unmet since seeking services means leaving school grounds during classes. By locating health centers at schools, students have direct access to services where they spend a majority of their day.
CHI Executive Director, Charlie Alfero said, “School-based health centers are vital, expanding access to primary and preventative health care services to our most important population, children.”
Of the 70 school-based health centers in the state, two are located in Grant County on the grounds of Bayard’s Cobre High School, 1100 Tom Foy Blvd., and Silver City’s Silver High, 3200 N. Silver St. Hidalgo Medical Services (HMS) administers both of the centers which offer a variety of services including medical and mental health care.
“We are very pleased and proud of the great work that Susan Wilger has accomplished, and continues to do so, for the NMASBC,” stated Dan Otero, Chief Executive Officer of HMS. Otero added, “In her role as the Associate Director of CHI, one of HMS’ strategic community partners, Susan’s efforts collaboratively enhance the delivery of school-based care and services in our community.”
This school year, the HMS school-based health centers at Cobre and Silver High Schools logged a combined 2,325 visits, slightly less than half these visits were confidential. The school-based health centers also catch serious health problems, like asthma, diabetes and depression, early to prevent bigger problems later in students’ lives.
School-based health centers derive their funding from grants, governmental support, partner contributions, private sector support and patient fees, usually via third-party insurers to defer costs from students. A majority of students can access services without paying out-of-pocket expenses.
The HMS Cobre School Health Clinic and Mental Health can be contacted by calling (575) 537-5069. The HMS Silver Schools Health Clinic and Mental Health can be contacted by calling (575) 534-1015.
CHI is an institute dedicated to planning, resource, program and policy development. It implements policies, strategies and models in underserved and underrepresented populations to improve quality of life, health status and equity.
For more information on CHI contact (575) 534-0101 ext. 2108 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.