SMART Student Health and Wellness Model Achieves Six Years of “Whole-School” Transformational Impact

 In Press Releases

FOR RELEASE: May 28, 2019
CONTACT: Roberto Callejas,

SMART Student Health and Wellness Model Achieves Six Years of “Whole-School” Transformational Impact Chronic Absenteeism Plummets at New Urban and Rural Expansion Sites

(Washington, D.C.), May 28, 2019 — The SMART (School Health Model for Academics Reaching ALL Transforming Lives) Student Health and Wellness Model is rounding out six years of operation in K–12 institutions across the U.S., with data from a new report card produced by Ginn Group Collaborative’s Knowledge Management System, eTHOS, that shows significant improvements in school performance such as drops in absenteeism that range from 55–70% at some schools and SMART Student Health and Wellness Center engagement levels averaging 97% of the schools’ populations.

In Chicago, the Flagship SMART Center at Sullivan High School is just completing its sixth year of operation. There, the SMART Student Health and Wellness Center has a tremendous track record of routinely consenting an average of 98% of the student population and providing physical and behavioral health care for 100% of those students, significantly increasing attendance by 3–4%, a profound movement by educational standards, and improving the school’s academic metrics and rating. Hibbard Elementary School in Chicago, which opened a new SMART Center in Fall of 2018, is now reporting a 70% reduction in chronic absenteeism.

After only 6 months of SMART operation in Pickens County, Alabama at the two new, rural Flagship SMART Centers at Reform Elementary School (RES) and Pickens County High School (PCHS), data collected from eTHOS proves the extraordinary impact that the SMART Centers are having on academic metrics for both RES and PCHS. Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and SMART Model’s multi-cultural advisor, recently toured these rural SMART Centers along with several fellow members of the National SMART Advisory Council including David Casey, Vice President of Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health; and Jami Leveen, Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships, Aramark.

After touring both RES and PCHS SMART Centers, meeting with students, staff, faculty, the principals, Superintendent Jamie Chapman, and Dr. Julia Boothe, Founder of Pickens Country Primary Care, SMART’s Medical Provider Partner in Alabama, Melanie Ginn, President and CEO of Ginn Group Collaborative, presented a “State of SMART” address and luncheon to the Council and distinguished guests at the University of Alabama’s Carmichael Hall.

The powerful effect the new rural SMART Centers are having includes a 55% drop in chronic absenteeism at RES, and, at PCHS, a 28% drop in absenteeism, a 35% drop in tardies, and a projected 4% graduation increase. Both rural SMART Centers have engaged with 99% of the consented students without increasing net costs by utilizing the SMART Model’s signature Active Access to Active Care practice, a dramatically changed capacity for impact and vital component of the SMART Model.

“The Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s mission has been expanded thanks to the SMART Model,” said Tijerino. “Education and workforce development are cornerstones of our work across the U.S. and neither are possible without overall health as well as economic impact, in both urban and rural environments. The visit to the SMART Center in Alabama was very powerful for us and the other partners because it demonstrated the effective adaptability of the SMART Model and the immediate impact being made not just on the schools but on the entire region. It was also clear that American families, teachers and children have the same needs, concerns, and priorities across the country that the SMART Model is addressing,” said Tijerino.

According to additional data tracked using eTHOS, over the course of the initial 5 years of operation at the Chicago SMART Flagship Center, 2013–2018, the Expected Value-Return on Investment (EV-ROI) is 684% immediate return for every $1 spent and 3,968% long-term return for every $1 spent.

Multiple parties are working together toward the goal of sustaining SMART Student Health and Wellness Centers as lasting partners within these rural and urban schools involving direct communication and collaboration with superintendents, principals and education experts, with renovation and expansion plans for a new SMART Center to open at Gordo High School in Pickens County, Alabama.

Preparation are also underway for the 2019 Annual SMART Symposium and Congressional Briefing to be held in Washington, D.C., December 9–11, co-hosted by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and sponsored by SMART Model Legacy Partner, CVS Health, and Patron Partner, Aramark. The event will focus on past success and strategies to increase SMART’s reach to even more students in the 2020–2021 school year. As part of that plan, SMART Model architect, Melanie Ginn, is currently engaged in due diligence to expand and scale this this best practice SMART Model to Philadelphia, and Cleveland with support from the Cleveland Foundation, and the George Gund Foundation.

The SMART Model is dedicated to improving academic achievement in order to break the cycle of poverty, creating a new, antecedent component on the health care continuum spectrum with Active Access and Active Care. The purpose of the SMART Center is to identify risks and barriers to academic achievement and then provide interventions that will mitigate or eliminate those barriers, conversely creating the optimal conditions for students to learn and succeed.

The SMART Model is the embodiment of the educational sector’s realization that teaching has become a “Whole-Child” movement. This unique framework and approach immediately destigmatize the seeking and receipt of care for children and adults by inviting all in the building to trust and engage with the SMART Transformation Teams—the SMART Center staff.

The SMART Model was developed in Chicago in 2013 with Ginn as the chief architect and strategist, in collaboration with funding and thought leader partner CVS Health. From this partnership, the National SMART Advisory Council has evolved to include Ernie DuPont, Senior Director of Workforce Initiatives, CVS Health; David Casey, Vice President of Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health; Jami Leveen, Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships, Aramark; Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation; and Dr. Liza Cariaga-Lo, President and Founder at The LCLO Group—A Higher Education and Workforce Development Collaborative Firm.


About Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation promotes cultural pride, accomplishment, and the great promise of the community through public awareness campaigns seen by millions. HHF is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles with satellite workspaces in New York, Silicon Valley, San Antonio, and Miami (Visit Follow HHF on Facebook and Twitter.


About Ginn Group Collaborative

Ginn Group Collaborative (GGC), led by President and CEO Melanie Ginn, is a nationally recognized design management firm with a proven track record in delivering exceptional outcomes and incisive analysis for clients. GGC brings objective and insightful perspective and expertise to review, research, develop, and deliver advanced business and legal analysis, strategies, and solutions. Learn more at