Using Data to Tackle Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Students' Health and Health Care
November 13, 2023
Primary care is often a patient’s first and most regular point of contact with the health care system.
High-quality primary care provides ongoing, relationship-based care that meets the health needs and preferences of individuals, families, and communities, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It is a rare “win-win” in health care that improves individual and community health, enhances health equity, and saves money. Despite the benefits, too little is invested in primary care and too many New Yorkers, especially New Yorkers of color, have difficulty getting care when and where they need it. In 2023, NYHealth issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), “Primary Care: Expanding Access and Advancing Racial Health Equity,” to test replicable models to improve the accessibility, quality, and equity of primary care in regions across the State. NYHealth awarded the New York School-Based Health Foundation (NYSBHF) a grant to participate in this initiative.
Under this grant, NYSBHF will identify racial health disparities among the 250,000 public school students across New York State receiving primary care at school-based health centers (SBHCs) and provide technical assistance to participating SBHCs to develop action plans to reduce these disparities. It will use its newly developed Data Hub, a repository of demographic and clinical data from more than half of all SBHCs across the State, to identify the most common chronic and behavioral health conditions among students, as well as the racial and ethnic disparities in the care they receive. Based on the data, NYSBHF will work with at least 10 SBHC sponsor organizations to develop tailored action plans to address disparities and implement screening, outreach, and education initiatives. NYSBHF will convene SBHC members to share learnings and offer technical support to improve data quality. It will also expand participation in its Data Hub to enhance the representativeness of data on the state of care in SBHCs and share that information with health systems, educational organizations, local and State departments of health, and other school-based health center networks.