Research from the United States shows that offering health and wellness services in a school setting makes youth more likely to seek out services, leading to healthier students and improved educational outcomes. The concept of school based health centres is very new in Canada and there is little information on implementation or impact of these centres in BC or Canada.
Since September 2015, 19 service providers have collaborated to provide a range of health services for children and youth attending John Barsby Community School in Nanaimo, BC.
The John Barsby Wellness Centre team consists of Public Health Nurses, physicians, administrative and social work staff who work with youth to deliver a wide range of on-site low-barrier and integrated wellness services. These include mental health and substance use services as well as education about nutrition, sexual health and community programs. Services are available to all John Barsby Community School students.
Members of this initiative have enlisted IHSTS to help them understand and learn from their work to date in developing and operating the wellness centre as a community-based collaborative.
This project is currently in the scoping phase of IHSTS’s standard project process.
IHSTS project leader Jeanne Legare is working with collaboration leaders to identify key questions about the initiative and develop a sound methodological approach to answering them.
Some possible questions include:
- What exactly is the collaboration culture at the John Barsby Wellness Centre now? What was the journey to bring this about? Can we paint the picture through stories of clinicians who provide services and from students who receive these services? What are we learning/changing as we go?
- What are some general lessons that our experience can provide, to help others bring about similar changes regardless of their current culture? What are the critical outcomes that matter to JBWC stakeholders? How should we measure and communicate impact?
- Does collaboration for impact produce better health outcomes?
- How can the collaboration be sustained for long term success?