A paper by Dr. John Santelli, professor and chair of the Mailman School’s Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, has been selected a paper of the year by the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health. “Measuring school health center impact on access to and quality of primary care” is published in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Dr. Santelli and co-authors evaluated access and quality of health services at an urban high school with a school health center compared with a school without and found that students at the former were more likely to report having a regular health care provider, awareness of confidential services, support for health services in their school, and willingness to utilize those services. Students in the school health center schools also reported higher quality of care.
Dr. Santelli, one of the nation’s leading researchers on adolescent sexual and reproductive health, is a staunch advocate for access to medically accurate sex education and high quality health care. His research and related outspoken advocacy have helped bring about the federal government’s decision to reduce funding of abstinence-only programs and to direct funding instead to medically accurate teen pregnancy prevention programs. Dr. Santelli’s years of focused research have looked at trends in adolescent sexual behavior and use of contraception, the impact of different kinds of sex education on youth sexual behavior and contraceptive practices, and state level refusal of federal abstinence-only funding, among other key issues.
Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio named Dr. Santelli to an advisory board tasked with developing a strategic plan for the Citywide Community Schools initiative. Composed of leaders from community groups, businesses, and academia across New York City, the board helps the city innovate ways of delivering greater services and support to at-risk families and turn schools into vital community hubs.