School Health Access Collaborative

School Health Access Collaborative

Improving the school health services infrastructure to provide comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable care for Chicago students.

Comprehensive Care for Chicago Students

Research shows that school-based health services, including physical, behavioral and sexual health services, are critical to supporting student health and wellness and academic achievement. Chicago students urgently need access to care: over 40 percent of CPS students are overweight or obese, over 25 percent suffer from behavioral health issues, 13 percent suffer from asthma and a significant number of students come to school with oral health issues, vision and hearing deficits and diabetes.

However, the majority of students in Chicago do not have access to comprehensive and coordinated health care in schools. The school nurse to student ratio is approximately one school nurse for every 2,000 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students. In addition, only 33 of CPS’ 652 schools have school-based health centers, and a small number of schools provide students with periodic access to healthcare through partnerships with local health providers that bring mobile clinics to schools.

Healthy Schools Campaign and the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago (PHIMC) launched the School Health Access Collaborative (SHAC) in December 2016 to support increased access to school health services for Chicago’s most vulnerable students. SHAC brings together key stakeholders to address issues such as the barriers and opportunities related to data sharing between health and education and strategies to address these. SHAC is also exploring ways that Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) can better support school health services, the role of Illinois Healthcare and Family Services, opportunities created by the state’s new education plan and ways to share best practices and lessons learned.

SHAC meets quarterly to advance its vision of improving the school health services infrastructure in order to provide comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable care for Chicago students. To find out more about SHAC, please contact Kate Yager, Director of State Policy and Advocacy at Healthy Schools Campaign, or Meghana Menon, Project Coordinator at PHIMC.


More than 30 individuals representing health and education advocacy organizations, school stakeholder organizations, health providers, health payers, CPS and local foundations are currently participating in SHAC, including representatives from the following:

Advocate Health Care
Alternatives Youth, Inc.
C4: Community Counseling Centers of Chicago
Chicago Community Oral Health Forum
Chicago Department of Public Health
Chicago Public Schools
Communities in Schools of Chicago
Erie Family Health Center
Esperanza Health Centers
Grant Healthcare Foundation
Health Medicine Policy and Research Group
Heartland Health Centers
Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership
Illinois College of Optometry
Lurie Children’s Hospital
Michael Reese Health Trust
Mikva Challenge
Millennia Consulting
Mobile Care Chicago
Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine
Norwegian American Hospital
PCC Community Wellness Center
Peer Health Exchange
Polk Bros. Foundation
Presence Health
Rush University
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare
United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and United Way of Illinois
University of Chicago Medical Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois School of Nursing
VNA Foundation