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School-Based Health Care

Bringing care to students — an innovative approach to integrating all aspects of health care and promoting health equity

Imagine how convenient it would be if parents could eliminate the drive time to take their children to a doctor’s appointment. This is now becoming a reality for Wichita-area schools, thanks to new partnerships between the KU School of Medicine-Wichita Department of Pediatrics and area school districts.

At Valley Center and Haysville school districts, and soon at other area schools, clinics are providing care for schoolchildren and young people ages 3 to 21 for a variety of reasons, including the following:

Nurse examines teen at school health clinic

  • Vaccinations and other preventive care
  • Immediate care for headaches, sore throats, sport injuries and fevers
  • Sports physicals
  • Screenings for blood pressure, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and other issues, which are addressed confidentially and conveniently

Studies have found school clinics reduce absenteeism and inappropriate emergency room visits and increase the likelihood students receive care, according to Kari Harris, M.D., associate professor at KU School of Medicine-Wichita. The need exists for both physical and mental health care, especially with "depression and anxiety increasing exponentially" during the pandemic.

School-based health care clinics take all major insurances, including KanCare and military insurance. The clinic will bill your insurance for the service(s) provided and any uncovered expense will be billed to the responsible party.

Throughout the country, school-based health care clinics have increased by 128% between 1998 and 2017, according to a 2019 Health Affairs article. KU Wichita Pediatrics, along with the Kansas Maternal Child Health Council, has been researching these innovative clinics since 2016, with Valley Center Public Schools being identified as a pilot site. Careful forethought and planning have gone into securing funding, establishing partnerships and obtaining equipment and supplies. Benefits already have been seen in consistent access to medical care, less time off work for parents and fewer student absences.


Contact Us

Interested in having a School-Based Health Clinic at your school? Contact KU Wichita Medical Practice Association at 316-293-2620.


Elizabeth Lewis, M.D.Elizabeth Lewis, M.D., is a board-certified, fellowship-trained family medicine specialist with expertise in sports medicine and adolescent care, and she practices at KU Wichita Pediatrics' Teen Clinic and the Haysville School-Based Health Clinic. Dr. Lewis completed her undergraduate degree at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, and then earned her earned her medical degree from the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia, MO. She furthered her training with a family medicine residency at Ascension Via Christi Family Medicine in Wichita, along with a fellowship in sports medicine at Ascension Via Christi Sports Medicine. She joined the KU Wichita Pediatrics faculty in 2022 as a clinical assistant professor, and has published and presented on the topics of sports medicine and adolescent health.

Debra Birdwell, RN, BSNDebra Birdwell, RN, BSN, is the clinic manager for the Medically Complex Clinic at KU Wichita Pediatrics. Debra serves as support nurse for the School-Based Health Clinic, USD 262 Valley Center Schools. She has seven years of experience serving in the pediatric clinic. Her clinical interests are children and youth with special health care needs, asthma and care coordination. She is passionate about helping families care for their children with special health care needs and ensuring there is adequate communication between families and health care providers. Debra also serves as support staff with KU medical students during their community-week rotation. Debra is committed to increasing the collaboration between multiple health care specialists and values the efforts in working with professionals to positively impact care.

Kerry Nantsis, APRNKerry Nantsis, APRN, is a nurse practitioner who has been with KU Wichita Pediatrics for six years. Kerry received her undergraduate degree from Newman University and her graduate degree from Wichita State University, where she specialized in family practice. She is board-certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She is passionate about improving access to pediatric health care and excited to be a part of the School-Based Health Clinic.

Nicole Klaus, Ph.D., ABPPNicole Klaus, Ph.D., ABPP, is a board-certified child and adolescent psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. She has more than 15 years of clinical experience and is committed to training mental health professionals and increasing access to mental health care for youth in underserved communities. While her clinical practice serves a broad range of mental health needs, Dr. Klaus has specific interests in youth suicide prevention and the treatment of childhood mood disorders. Dr. Klaus is a member of the expert hub team for the KSKidsMAP Pediatric Mental Health Care Access project, which includes case consultation, a teleECHO clinic and clinician wellness resources for primary care clinicians across Kansas to address the mental health care needs of youth in rural and underserved communities.

Stephanie Kuhlmann, D.O.Stephanie Kuhlmann, D.O., is a pediatric hospitalist and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. Dr. Kuhlmann serves as the division director of Pediatric Hospital Medicine and as the pediatric medical director at Wesley Children’s Hospital. She is also involved in numerous hospital committees and community initiatives and organizations. She believes in interdisciplinary and collaborative teamwork to maximize resources and services to provide the best care for children and families. Dr. Kuhlmann created and facilitates the Kansas COVID Workgroup for Kids, which has fueled an existing interest in school-based health.

Sid Sivamurthy, M.D.Sid Sivamurthy, M.D., is a board-certified pediatrician with 20 years of medical experience across three countries with vastly different health care systems. He is currently an associate professor at KU Wichita Pediatrics where he practices primary care pediatrics and serves as the medical director of the KU Wichita Medically Complex Clinic. Dr. Sivamurthy is dedicated to serving Kansas’ unique medical needs. His passion is caring for children with special health care needs. He started the KU Wichita Pediatric Asthma Clinic in 2012 and works closely with the pediatric pulmonologist to meet the asthma needs of the community. Both clinics have long been a regional resource for patients, medical care providers and community partners. In addition to Dr. Sivamurthy’s current practice, he has experience in genetics and metabolic medicine (PKU/galactosemia clinic) and was involved with the genetics team’s pioneering work in the field of telehealth. His team at KU deeply values community partnerships and is always looking for new opportunities to positively impact the health of our children. 

Paul Teran, M.D.Paul Teran, M.D., is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hospital Medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita and an academic pediatric hospitalist at Wesley Children’s Hospital. His clinical practice involves caring for hospitalized children. He is passionate about patient- and family-centered care, multidisplinary collaboration, high-value evidence-based care and medical education. He serves as the KUSM-W PHM Division’s director of education and development and is the physician leader of the Patient- and Family-Centered Care Collaborative Workgroup. Dr. Teran is an active advocate for children and youth through public policy initiatives and partnering with community organizations. He believes that school-health partnerships are incredibly beneficial to children and communities.

Kari Harris, M.D.Kari Harris, M.D., is a primary care pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. Dr. Harris serves as section director for the Division of Adolescent Health and medical director for the School-Based Health Clinic, USD 262 Valley Center Schools. Dr. Harris has over 10 years of experience serving adolescents in her clinical practice. Her clinical interests are in mental health, risk mitigation and preventive care. She is passionate about supporting youth in achieving their goals and recognizes that mental wellness is vital to a successful trajectory for youth. Dr. Harris also serves as the medical director of the KSKidsMAP Pediatric Mental Health Access Program, Virtual TeleECHO Clinic, a program that addresses the shortage of pediatric mental health experts by supporting primary care physicians and clinicians in treating mental health needs among youth in their primary care practices. Dr. Harris is committed to advocating for youth and decreasing barriers to access to health care. Her research interests mirror her clinical practice in mental health and preventive medicine. Dr. Harris strongly values collaborative efforts in clinical care and research and her professional teams reflect this.

KU School of Medicine-Wichita

1010 North Kansas
Wichita, KS 67214-3199