Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Classroom Success, Creating Optimal Conditions for Learning

SMART (School Health Model for Academics Reaching All and Transforming Lives) is an educational solution that focuses on breaking the cycle of poverty and improving the trajectory of lives by supporting academic achievement through onsite SMART Centers. Our centers identify and address the physical, behavioral, social, and emotional barriers to classroom success through the proactive delivery of on-site integrative health services, in real time.

The SMART Model delivers a comprehensive, system-wide strategy for education-driven health services. The model is built on the numerous, well-documented interconnections between the “Whole Child” factors of physical and behavioral health, wellness, social and emotional learning, and educational attainment.

The SMART approach not only increases the health, success, and overall well-being of individuals; it reaches families and school staff, positively impacting entire communities.

Origins of SMART: Analyzing the Health Center Challenge

  • Ginn Group Collaborative had been evaluating school-based health centers’ lack of sustainability and utilization. Key factors that were identified as undermining their success were reactiveness, a failure to manage costs, siloed operations, and the misallocation of resources away from activities that deliver key outcomes.
  • Poor health outcomes were adversely affecting academic achievement and graduation rates, which in turn lowered competency rates and the ability to meaningfully participate in future workforce opportunities.
    GGC’s innovative solutions quickly increased productivity, increased billing revenue, and broadened outcomes to more stakeholders.
  • In 2012, CVS Health brought their support for this landmark work as a Legacy Sponsor with a long-term commitment to SMART as an innovation in health care delivery that meets unmet needs, closes health equity gaps, and improves outcomes at lower costs for individuals on their path to improved socioeconomic status.

The Science of SMART

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Salutes SMART Teams

SMART Clinics

What makes SMART Student Health and Wellness Centers Unique?

  • Academic Purpose
  • Collaborative Approach
  • Interdisciplinary Viewpoint
  • Focus on Wellness of All Students
  • Prevention-Based and Proactive
  • Outcomes-Oriented
  • Entrepreneurial Culture
  • Data-Driven
  • Permanent Asset Managed by Local Stakeholders


  • The Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s mission has been expanded thanks to Melanie’s connectivity, strategy, and vision. From working with us to develop a sustainable and measurable track for Latino talent into healthcare fields with CVS Health to spearheading innovative research and models that deliver economic impacts, like SMART™, she facilitates and brokers-bringing partners together for the common cause of moving communities and America forward.

    Antonio Tijerino
    Antonio Tijerino President & CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation
  • [Melanie] partnered with the communications and marketing unit as a trusted and knowledgeable consultant who provides expert advice and assistance with major projects. She has brought a broad range of valuable skill sets, and her core capabilities include administration, communication, customer service, leadership, planning, analytical skills, professionalism, resourcefulness, dependability, and personal qualities that make working with her very fun, enjoyable, and effective.

    Alberta Olivia Lang
    Alberta Olivia Lang Senior Manager of Workforce Initiatives, CVS Health
  • The pandemic has made it clear to all how health care gaps hurt students and families in Central Falls every day — that is why we are so excited to welcome the SMART team to our community. Our students, families and school community will benefit from this SMART Clinic for years to come.

    Stephanie Downey Toledo, EdLD
    Stephanie Downey Toledo, EdLD Central Falls School District Superintendent
  • In 25 years of working with schools and communities to improve the lives of at-risk children and youth, I have never seen an approach or intervention with the capacity that the SMART™ model has to bring about dramatic improvements. By bringing together proven health and behavioral health care methods in a new and unique delivery model, Ginn Group Consulting and CVS Health has forged the tool we have been looking for to help our children.

    Dr. Karl Hamner
    Dr. Karl Hamner Director of the Office of Evaluation and School Improvement, College of Education, The University of Alabama
  • For too many of our students, the barriers to good physical and emotional health are negatively impacting their capacity to learn and subsequent socio-economic life trajectories. The SMART™ model’s approach to ensuring the wellness of every student in the building, with the purpose of academic achievement, is unique and yields powerful results.

    Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
    Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky 9th District, Illinois
  • When noting the evolution of the public school system and its hallmark features, I can see the day when SMART™ Student Health and Wellness Centers are as normative within public education as libraries—one in every school. It is paramount that students in the classroom be physically and mentally healthy, providing each the best opportunity to participate and learn. SMART™ identifies and reduces the barriers to student success and creates/improves the conditions that maximize the capacity for educators to teach.

    Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh
    Dr. Peter Hlebowitsh Dean of the College of Education, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • CVS is proud to have played a part in supporting and actively participating in the type of public-private partnership that fueled a high impact, lower cost socio-economic solution like SMART™ that, at its core, aims to break the cycle of poverty and positively change the trajectory of young lives.

    Ernest DuPont
    Ernest DuPont Senior Director, Workforce Initiatives, CVS Health
  • The LIFE Male STEAM Academy’s SMART Health and Wellness Center is a cornerstone of our Academy’s Whole Child 360° approach, which allows us to reach and address the deep underlying issues and challenges that serve as barriers to emotional health, learning, and achievement. The clinical staff does not remain in the SMART Center waiting for students to come; they are proactive in coming to the students and faculty, which builds relationships that demonstrate love, care, and concern.

    Reverend Dr. Darryl T. Canady and Reverend Taleeta L. Canady, BA, MED, MDIV Founders of LIFE Male STEAM
  • Warren Alpert Medical School is the first medical school to partner with a SMART Clinic, and the project can serve as a model for medical schools and communities throughout the country. We are extremely excited about the opportunity to introduce Central Falls students to a variety of careers in health care and to increase their sense of possibility in terms of what types of professional futures are available to them.

    Joseph Diaz, MD
    Joseph Diaz, MD Associate Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School
  • Supporting the health of our students and our entire school community can be a powerful change in RI and a much-needed resource for our families. When we heard the story of SMART’s impact in other schools and communities across the country, we immediately knew it could make a real difference for RI students, staff, and families.

    Angélica Infante-Green
    Angélica Infante-Green Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Rhode Island