Overall levels of educational attainment are closely tied to health outcomes. Those who have not graduated from high school are significantly more likely to report physical health issues that interfere with their daily lives. As students complete higher levels of education, the risk for developing serious health problems drops dramatically. The links between health and education are complex. Higher education is linked to better paying jobs, which are more likely to include health benefits and increased access to medical care. College graduates are also much more likely to learn about and adopt healthy habits and pass them on to their children. A recent study by the Center on Society and Health demonstrates that even when comparable care is available, those with high levels of education still have significantly better health outcomes than those with lower levels of educational attainment.
Because of the link between educational attainment and overall health, AltaMed has implemented Escalera (“Ladder”) case management programming at local high schools. Escalera helps our more than 25,000 high school-aged patients graduate from high school, pursue higher education and achieve a healthier, more successful future. The program provides students struggling to stay on-track with mentoring, case management and tutoring to make sure they have the tools to not only graduate high school, but to succeed in their continued academic and professional lives. We know that building healthy communities requires more than just clinics and doctors, so we aim to provide our teen patients with the support they need to successfully lead healthy lives.
We have made great strides in helping local high school students graduate with a plan for the future, but there are still so many more that could use our support.