Improving Access to Sexual Health Services

Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Cleveland Metropolitan School District, with CDC funding, improved access to key sexual health services, such as STD testing and treatment; contraception education; and pregnancy testing, through a far-reaching, tailored approach to increase the number of referrals made for students.

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Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) increased the number of sexual health referrals provided to middle and high school students from 70 per school year in 2014 to 1,077 per school year in 2018.

CMSD improved the referral system by strengthening connections with youth-friendly clinics, developing guidance for making referrals, and creating a process to track referrals. CMSD also increased school staff’s capacity to make referrals through a coordinated effort to train, communicate with, and support school nurses and educators in connecting students to necessary sexual health services.

Teens in classroom

Educators and nurses received professional development and training on a variety of topics including relevant state laws and policies, and the most current information on STDs and contraception. Training was paired with a sexual health toolkit that contained information to help staff make referrals to youth-friendly sexual health services. CMSD communicated directly to students by disseminating flyers and pocket guides school-wide which listed youth-friendly clinics closest to each school.

CMSD increased access to key sexual health services for nearly 5,000 middle and high school students by improving the system for making referrals and giving school staff the tools they needed to make more referrals.