Health professionals from around New York State gathered for a conference addressing the healthcare needs of school-aged children and best practices for school-based health treatment and prevention on March 17 and 18 in Cooperstown. Over 110 conference participants were welcomed by Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, President & CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network, and Dr. Monica Brané, Chief of Pediatrics at Bassett Healthcare Network. Retired NYS Senator James L. Seward also addressed the gathering.
“The importance of providing high-quality healthcare within our schools cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Ibrahim. “The health of our communities begins with our young people. Congratulations to the entire Bassett School-Based Health staff and all attendees for creating this important opportunity to share knowledge and address challenges together.”
The conference was organized and hosted by Bassett’s School-Based Health Program. Dr. Chris Kjolhede, MD, MPH, Co-Director of the program, said: “This conference highlighted many of the issues confronting the dedicated individuals who have worked very hard in school-based health centers to meet the needs of families and students all over the state. The breadth of topics covered by speakers from our region and from within Bassett were provocative, informative, and well received. Bassett’s School-Based Health team was energized by this experience and is ready to apply what was learned at our sites.”
Bassett’s School-Based Health program is now the largest rural school-based health program in New York State, and recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. The program includes 21 sites in 17 school districts across four counties and continues to grow.
More than 7,000 children are enrolled across the system. The program ensures easy access within schools to high-quality healthcare – including medical, dental, and mental health services – for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. School-Based Health program services are available to all students regardless of income.
The conference, titled “SBHCs Provide Equitable Healthcare: Post-Pandemic Challenges to Our Workforce”, presented a broad range of topics covering physical, mental, and oral health. Conference sessions, amongst many others, included: The Value of Pediatric Immunizations during a Pandemic; Oral Health Advocacy; The Need for Increased Skills in Trauma Informed Care; Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy for Trauma; HPV Disaster and Its Prevention; and Recovery-Based Suicide Prevention Strategy.