News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Celebrate School-Based Health Center Awareness Month in February 2011
Health Department's centers in Antrim and Emmet counties are improving educational outcomes

(February 3, 2011) As proclaimed by Governor Rick Snyder, February 2011 will be officially recognized in Michigan, as it is across the nation, as "School-Based Health Center Awareness Month". The Health Department of Northwest Michigan operates two school-based health centers: the Hornet Health Center, in the Pellston Middle/High School, serving youth age 5through 21, and the Ironmen Health Center, on the campus of Mancelona Public Schools, serving adolescents age 10 through 21. There is no charge for services at the school-based health centers. Clients do not need to be enrolled in Pellston or Mancelona schools to use the clinics.

School-based health centers bring access to health care right where the students are--at school. According to the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan, school-based health centers have been shown to markedly improve educational outcomes and are a cost-effective, evidence-based model for providing health care to students.

"It's about preparing kids to lead our state," said Michele Strasz, Executive Director. "Healthy kids are better learners. Our school-based health centers do an outstanding job keeping our students healthy and ready to learn, and they deserve to be recognized and celebrated in February.

A school-based health center is like a doctor's office in a school. They provide students with quality primary and mental health services in a safe, easily accessible location on or near a school campus. Today there are over 100 centers and programs in Michigan, serving over 200,000 children of all grade levels in urban, rural, and suburban schools and communities across the state. These centers and programs are strategically located in medically-underserved communities where access to health care for youth is an issue.

"School-based Health Center Awareness Month is a time to acknowledge the commitment and passion that school-based health center staff show for all Michigan children and youth," says Governor Snyder's Proclamation. "School-based Health Centers provide a critical role in improving the health and well-being of all Michigan children." A copy of the proclamation can be viewed online at

School-based health centers have a proven track record on health and educational outcomes for Michigan's children and youth. Michigan State University's recent study, the "Michigan Evaluation of School-based Health Centers," reviewed the impact of state-funded school-based health centers on the health and health behaviors of the children and youth of Michigan. Key findings from the study document that these centers are associated with a wide range of health benefits for the entire student population, including greater self-esteem, less physical and emotional discomfort, and eating more healthy foods. The study concludes school-based health centers are an important component of school environments whether students directly use the services or not.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information about the Hornet Health Center or the Ironmen Health Center, call the Health Department at 800-432-4121.