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SBHCs Take Strides Towards Reproductive Health Awareness

Updated: Mar 24

For the past several years, teenage birth rates in the United States have been decreasing, however, there can always be more work done to raise awareness towards reproductive health. Unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are still heavily prevalent in teenagers and young adults. Many school-based health centers (SBHCs) step in to provide quality education and resources at the front lines of healthcare. Some examples of SRH services provided by SBHCs include pregnancy testing, STI testing and treatment, and counseling. HPV vaccines and pap smear testing can also be included, at a low or no cost, for uninsured individuals.


The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene launched an important initiative, in an effort to raise awareness and access towards reproductive health services.

School-Based Health Center Reproductive Health Project (SBHC RHP) allows

for more access to reproductive health services even until today (Fisher, Danza, McCarthy and Tiezzi, 2019). The idea was launched in 2008 and has supported school based health centers in NYC public high schools. It provides many resources to students, such as emergency contraception, hormonal contraception, and long acting reversible contraception (LARCs). This project made significant changes among the following:


-Increasing the number of schools and high school students utilizing similar services

-Students adopting safer sex practices, such as use of contraceptives like LARCs

-Teen births, abortions, and pregnancies declining

-Overall adolescent fertility in NYC decreasing (from year 2008-2017)

-Medicaid and public insurance programs savings improving


The effect that the RHP had on pregnancies, abortions, and contraception use were assessed using data from the NYC Bureau of Vital Statistics and Youth Risk Behavior Survey.


SBHCs continue to revisit the topic of reproductive health until today. They ensure that measures to promote safe and healthy sex practices are readily available to students at their school sites. Similarly, they work on providing education and further resources for the utmost success in students. Without SBHCs, the safe and welcoming space created for students to reach their healthiest self would not exist!


References


Fisher, R., Danza, P., Mccarthy, J., & Tiezzi, L. (2019). Provision of Contraception in New York City

School‐Based Health Centers: Impact on Teenage Pregnancy and Avoided Costs, 2008–

2017.Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health,51(4), 201–209. doi:

10.1363/psrh.12126

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