New research from the University of Colorado School of Medicine shows that school-based health centers are highly effective in delivering comprehensive care, especially vaccines to adolescents.
The study, published today in the journal Pediatrics, highlights the value of a `captive audience' in a school setting where students can be easily reminded to get recommended vaccinations.
"School-based health centers can provide comprehensive care to children and adolescents who are hard to reach," said CU School of Medicine professor of pediatrics Allison Kempe, MD, MPH, and lead author of the study. "I think it's a very important model especially in underserved and low income areas. School-based health centers are not prevalent across the United States but I think they should be."
Kempe, director of the Children's Outcomes Research Program at Children's Hospital Colorado, said the scope of immunizations for adolescents has expanded markedly over the last few years, prompting discussions about a platform of inoculations for this population similar to those given to infants.
Immunizations recommended for adolescents include the meningococcal conjugate vaccine; tetanus-diptheria-acellular pertussis vaccine and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
"While new vaccines targeted for adolescents certainly hold great promise, they also face certain challenges," Kempe said. "Adolescents are an age group that is less likely to access health care and only 9 percent of all health care visits by adolescents are for preventative care."
And then there are issues of parental consent, lack of health insurance, missed chances for vaccinations during routine doctor visits and scattering of immunization records among multiple providers.
Kempe and her fellow researchers, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, studied vaccination outcomes among sixth graders at four school-based health centers at Denver area schools.
They did a demonstration study of 265 females needing at least one vaccine. All of them received reminders to get their immunizations. Researchers did a second study that was a randomized controlled trial of 264 males needing vaccines. In that study, half of the males received reminders, calls or notes to get immunizations and half received their usual care.
After six months, 77 percent of females had received at least one vaccine and 45 percent got all the necessary immunizations. The randomized controlled trial of males found that 66 percent of those getting reminders had received at least one vaccine and 59 percent had obtained all study vaccines compared to 45 percent and 36 percent respectively in the control group.
"These data reinforce the notion that school-based health centers are very valuable in providing health care to kids who are uninsured, come from poor backgrounds or are adolescents," said Kempe. "Our study shows how well these kinds of reminders work in school. They are effective, easy and cheap."
University of Colorado Denver: http://www.ucdenver.edu
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
When you're paid to hit people, it's not always easy to stop at the end of the work day—a fact the NFL has to reckon with, and fast
Is Democracy a key to better levels of health in a country? That's long been the belief, but we hear about some research that shows that isn't always the case.
You can learn a lot about people if you mess with their minds. Here are four infamous experiments in which psychologists gave in to unethical temptations
The number of people without enough to eat has fallen rapidly over the past 25 years, but sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia are still struggling
New research raises serious questions about how artificial sweeteners might affect our bodies, but let's keep our cool and just do more research
Do you want to be a lab rat? That's what teenagers are doing when they smoke marijuana, the state of Colorado says. But since hard evidence of marijuana's harms is scanty, it may be a tough sell.
Caitlin Doughty has been cutting pacemakers out of corpses, grinding human bones by hand, and loading bodies into cremation chambers for seven years. But the 30-year-old mortician doesn't want to keep all the fun to herself: She thinks the rest of us should get to have a little more face time with the deceased.
A trial of an experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus is to begin in Oxford.
A simple urine test for the virus that causes cervical cancer could offer a less invasive and more acceptable alternative to the conventional cervical smear test, researchers said on Tuesday.
President Barack Obama and U.S. Senate commit to help West Africa wallop the virus