Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

5-2004

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Russell F. West

Committee Members

Nancy Dishner, Louise L. MacKay, Cecil N. Blankenship

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe the impact that the school-based health center in Sneedville, Tennessee had on students who attended Hancock County High School. The study documented how the school-based health center affected students, families, and the community of Sneedville. Case study methodology was used to determine if the school-based health center impacted school attendance, mental and emotional health, sexual practices, and overall quality of life for students and their families.

Data were collected through 25 interviews with health center stakeholders. The methodology included working with the staff at the school-based health center to identify the key players and key center users over the seven years of the center's existence. An interview protocol was designed for each of the seven groups that were interviewed. Data were collected from current and former students, parents of current and former students, school counselors, teachers, and the school nurse.

Students who attended Hancock County High School as well as their parents were impacted by their direct access to primary comprehensive health care services. Benefits to parents included a reduction of time in missed work and lower medical care costs for students without health insurance. The center promoted and improved school attendance while distributing valuable health education information to students and parents. Because the city of Sneedville has only one medical center and no hospital, the school-based health center served the rural residents well.

Beginning as one of only three such centers in the United States, the school-based health center endured and evolved into a full-service, comprehensive health care provider. The center is located in an isolated region of Northeast Tennessee; the location added to the center's impact on the residents.

This study could provide a model for rural communities seeking ways to serve the health care needs of youth. In this time of economic instability and educational accountability, this school-based health center appeared to impact student care, thus allowing students to be more capable and ready to learn.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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