TED Conversations

Ernesto Villasenor

Social Justice Fellow, LA County Education Foundation (LACEF)

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Addressing health disparities in inner city communities through the establishment and development of school-based health centers.

One of the surges that has been occurring in the past 25 years or so are the health disparities that disproportionately affect inner city communities, communities that are predominantly low-income and have large minority populations.

Many health issues that were not of great concern in the past 40 or 50 years are starting to become epidemics, health issues that include the following: overweight and obesity (especially childhood obesity), a health issue that can trigger many more illnesses within these communities); under-immunization or low immunization delivery within child and adolescent populations in the inner city, a health issue that can prevent many childhood and adolescent illnesses and deaths; asthma and respiratory illnesses, which can be complicated by overweight and obesity problems, environmental factors (that being another topic in itself), and the lack of proper health care accessibility.

A lot of these health problems are much higher than they should be for many reasons, and one of the reasons as to why it is higher in inner city communities is because of the following: the lack of adequate health care.

School-based Health Centers (SBHCs and SHCs), have been known to address a lot of health disparities within the inner city communities. Although they have been around for around 40-50 years, their effectiveness has been well documented through numerous fields within public health and education.

Health and education go hand in hand within the K-12 environment and setting, and although their correlation is poorly supported with little research, I believe that I can (as well as many of us) could find numerous information and develop studies to help find more information on such correlation, in addition to creating the awareness of an effective system in terms of addressing health disparities within the inner city communities.


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    Sep 3 2012: They have been and are a great benefit to the students who use them, but what if school board and city councils actually made an effort to introduce initiatives where SHC funding was properly allocated to sustain them? What if school boards created an initiative to introduce SHCs in all of the schools throughout their respective school district?

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