WVU researchers focus on school-based healthcare in Appalachia
Hindered by access to high-quality healthcare, West Virginia children demonstrate
some of the worst health outcomes in the nation.
More than 25 percent of West Virginia children live in poverty. Many rural communities
do not have nearby OB-GYN providers, let alone hospitals. Moreover, West Virginia
has the highest rate of opioid drug overdoses in the nation.
A valuable resource for children is available in the one place they find themselves
daily: their local schools. School-based health centers provide services ranging
from preventative and immediate healthcare to behavioral and dental care.
An interdisciplinary team of
West Virginia University researchers is investigating how children’s health
and education outcomes can be improved through these school-based health centers.
Designed for teams of two researchers and one community leader, the IRL program supports
engaged research crafted and conducted by innovative teams that explores a problem,
applies a solution in real time and makes an immediate positive impact in their
local communities. The three-year program provides participants with annual support
of up to $25,000 and a one-time research grant of up to $125,000 per team.
“We are so excited to leverage the resources of the IRL program to improve the lives
of the children of West Virginia,” said WVU Provost
Joyce McConnell. “The research that Drs. Haeder and Anderson will be conducting
is rooted in a sense of urgency and in a commitment to the power of our local communities.
Their project is consistent with the goals of
West Virginia Forward and will truly make a difference in the state.”
Anderson and Haeder will collaborate with Kelli Caseman, director of child development
and chair of the Kids’ Health Partnership for West Virginians for Affordable Health
Care. Over the next three years, their team will investigate and assess how school-based
health centers address healthcare needs in rural West Virginia.