Experts agree that children's academic success is directly related to their health. When children are healthy, they attend class regularly and perform better in school, preparing them for a productive future.
More than 20% of West Virginia's public school children require regular and ongoing health services during the day. School-based health centers ensure that students' health care needs are met and that barriers to learning are reduced. They are on-site, primary care clinics that provide both preventive and primary care to students to meet their health needs. They bring counseling, health education, and dental services to children and adolescents where they are much of the day - in school. They have reception areas, exam rooms, and labs and are usually staffed by a receptionist, a nurse, and nurse practitioner or a physician's assistant under the supervision of a doctor.
Since the Foundation's commitment to the school-based health effort, a number of state level activities have converged to bring school-based health centers to the attention of many state agencies. As a partner in all of these efforts, the Sisters of St. Jospeh Health and Wellness Foundation is having a positive impact on the school-based health movement in West Virginia. In 2005, the Board of Directors voted to make the West Virginia School-Based Health Initiative the Foundation's primary funding focus until 2012.