Growing Well Cincinnati

The mission of Growing Well Cincinnati is to create an integrated, coordinated and sustainable system of providers that ensures access to quality health and wellness services for students and their families. Growing Well consists of representatives from 30 organizations, including Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), local hospitals, neighborhood clinics, the Health Department, the Academy of Medicine, Jobs & Family Service, Legal Aid, YMCA and community health/mental health providers.

Growing Well promotes optimal health for optimal learning. To achieve this goal, Growing Well is developing infrastructure for school health using a “braided” model of services. This model is built not on mandates of services but rather on creating a system for health services that will achieve increased utilization by decreasing barriers to care (transportation, insurance, appointment waiting lists, missed appointments, culturally competent services). This model takes existing services delivered independently and braids these services together into a system of care.

The network will achieve these goals through four primary strategies:

1.   Establishing new sites for services in the school setting.

2.   Tracking health care measurements to document improvement in health.

3.   Ensuring an integrated, coordinated system of providing services.

4.   Ensuring that students receive all the types of services needed such as nutrition, physical activity, mental health, dental care and primary care as well as safety in accordance with the CDC guidelines to achieve the eight components of coordinated school health.

Adolescents represent a medically underserved group with the lowest rate of Medicaid enrollment for eligibility of all children. Recently added services have focused on this unmet need and include three new school-based health centers located in high schools (Oyler, Hughes and Woodward). A planning grant is in process to add a school-based health center in the building for Withrow University and Withrow International high schools and part time at Academy of World Languages.

In addition, Growing Well recently analyzed data that supports the relationship between health and school readiness. We are analyzing more data to better understand the relationship between health, school attendance and academic outcomes in children K-12 with chronic illnesses. These analyses will ultimately ensure that the physical, academic and long-term developmental needs of students can be optimally met.