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Our Work School-Based Health Initiative

Supporting new partnerships between schools and health care providers.

The School-Based Health Initiative supports quality, convenient health care for students and their families in a safe, familiar place. Providing Health services in school settings helps kids miss less school and supports better academic outcomes. We support partnerships between schools and health care providers to create school-based health centers in communities that need them most.

Untreated health issues create challenges for students in all areas of their lives, including the classroom. Untreated mental illness, dental infections, and medical illnesses such as asthma commonly cause excessive absences, classroom behavioral challenges, and poor academic performance. The ripple effect of these issues can extend into critical school metrics such as attendance and graduation rates. Addressing these health issues can help students reach their full academic potential and achieve greater personal success.

The School-Based Health Initiative provides grants to plan for and implement health centers in schools across Montana, offering a powerful way to address the health and behavioral challenges that keep students from succeeding in school. These services may be provided in the school building, through telehealth, or in a nearby mobile unit.

The Montana Office of Public Instruction is helping support the implementation of this initiative. More information on their role can be found in their grant summary.

To date, we have supported the startup of school-based health centers that serve 58 of the state’s highest-need schools.

In 2022, these school-based health centers delivered health services to more than 1,200 patients.

Funding Opportunity

About the Opportunity

This initiative provides funding for health care providers to partner with schools to plan for and implement school-based health centers. Funding will assist with planning, start-up costs, initial staffing, convening, technical assistance, data collection, and evaluation support. Funding is available for planning and implementation projects. Grant applications are by invitation only.

Selection Criteria

Federally qualified health centers, rural health centers, and Tribal health departments are eligible for funding under this initiative.

The partnering schools that this initiative will target fall into one of the categories below, including:

  • Schools identified as “comprehensive” schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act
  • Alternative high schools
  • Schools identified as “targeted” schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act and in which 70% or more of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch
  • Schools that serve a large number of students with complex needs based on school-level Youth Risk Behavioral Survey or any other school-level specific data or 70% or more of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and there is evidence of complex health needs

In addition to meeting our standard selection criteria, invited grant applications for this initiative will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • A commitment to the grant project by health care partner leadership
  • A formal commitment from the school partner with an accompanying letter of support
  • Active participation with technical assistance providers, including the Montana Healthcare Foundation, the Montana Office of Public Instruction, and the School-Based Health Alliance


Need assistance?

Email Kelsey Gummer
Senior Program Officer