HISD expands partnership with Hazel Health to offer no-cost care at every campus

As part of its new Continuum of Care model for student wraparound supports, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) is expanding its partnership with Hazel Health to every campus and Sunrise Center in the District. Currently offered at 88 campuses, Hazel Health services will be available Districtwide beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year, giving all HISD students access to no-cost telehealth care conveniently coordinated through their school.

“HISD is reimagining what it means to meet students’ needs in and out of the classroom,” said Najah Callendar, senior executive director of external engagement for HISD. “Hazel Health’s telemedicine services are one of the most exciting components of our Continuum of Care approach, and we’re thrilled to make these supports available to every student in the district.”

HISD is investing $1.8 million to expand its work with Hazel Health. Through the partnership, Hazel Health will provide: 

  • Telehealth services for every HISD student at no cost to the student or their family
  • Resources to support school nurses in caring for students more efficiently and effectively during the school day
  • Convenient virtual appointments, where the average wait time to see a doctor is four minutes, ensuring most students can be treated promptly and return to class
  • Behavioral and mental health counseling with therapists who deliver specialized support across a wide range of student needs
  • Access to a clinical support team to help families navigate long-term treatment plans
  • Immediate access to common over-the-counter medicines as well as quick and convenient prescription refills

The District laid the foundation for the expanded partnership by creating seven Sunrise Centers in the fall of 2023. Strategically located in high-need areas throughout the District, the Sunrise Centers serve as community hubs where students and their families can access essential services from a variety of partners and providers. Services include medical care, help with basic needs like food and clothing, case management, language classes, employment support, and more.

“Expanding Hazel’s virtual services will promote health equity in the community by ensuring all students can access the care they need,” said Hazel Health Chief Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles. “Now, when any HISD student needs care, they can get it at their school or a nearby Sunrise Center with no out-of-pocket costs to their family. Students will receive high-quality care regardless of their immigration status, ability to pay, or whether they have health insurance. Our partnership with HISD is removing barriers so students can come to class healthy and ready to learn and thrive.”

As the nation’s largest and most trusted provider of school-based telehealth, Hazel Health works with districts and health plans across the country to provide students with essential pediatric health care they can easily access through their school. Hazel’s licensed providers deliver teletherapy and virtual care—in school or at home—to more than four million K-12 students regardless of their ability to pay.

In the coming weeks, HISD and Hazel Health will hold community events to demonstrate how telehealth visits work and to support campuses and families in accessing the available services.