A statement to our community from the staff and board of the Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance of Missouri:
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
We are struggling to process the violence we have witnessed the past few weeks and the surge of anger, grief, and anxiety that is greatly impacting our families, communities, and organizations. For us, the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, as well as the high COVID-19 death rates for black Missourians, have re-emphasized the critical need for work toward racial equity.
Our organization was founded out of the work of For the Sake of All, a landmark report on African American health and well-being in St. Louis, and other critical efforts across the state that focus on increasing access to health and mental healthcare for our most vulnerable children. The mission of the Show-Me School Based Health Alliance is to support communities in building and sustaining quality school-based health (SBH) programs – a powerful tool for achieving health equity among children who unfairly experience disparities in outcomes because of their race, ethnicity, or family income. Recent events have amplified severe inequities, not only in our justice system, but also in access to quality healthcare, food, housing, and education. SBH programs play a critical role in providing not only high-quality health and mental health services, but also in addressing the social determinants of health through vital community partnerships.
Trauma, brought on by racism, the pandemic, and civil unrest and compounded by decades of witnessing and/or experiencing violence, disproportionately impacts underserved groups and communities of color. Leaving a profound, lasting impact on individuals, families, and communities, trauma has also been linked to higher rates of stress and has been shown to have long-term, negative impacts on both mental and physical health. Many of Missouri’s SBH programs operate in underserved, underinsured communities with disproportionately high rates of poverty. They create a safe place for students to not only access healthcare but also one in which their holistic needs are prioritized.
In our work to redefine health for kids and teens in Missouri:
- We believe that significant systemic change is past due.
- We strive to be part of the solution by ensuring we hear all voices, understand all perspectives, and continue to recognize our own biases as we work toward solutions.
- We value collaboration, cooperation, and data-driven decision-making.
- And, through empowering both school districts and healthcare providers, we call for cross-sector relationships to address our community’s greatest challenges and advocate.
Our vision is that every child in Missouri has an equal opportunity to succeed by assuring access to high quality health care. We ask you to join us in our advocacy for policy and legislative changes, as we hold ourselves accountable to building a better and more equitable future for our youth.
We have included some resources on racial equity as well as how school-based health plays a role in promoting health equity. If you have any questions or thoughts, we welcome continued dialogue. Please email Executive Director, Molly Ticknor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Show-Me School-Based Health Alliance of Missouri