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School-Based Health Centers Open in Partnership with CHCs

Three crucial school-based health centers (SBHCs) opened in the last few months in

partnership with some of Washington’s Community Health Centers (CHCs).

These SBHCs opened at Mountlake Terrance High School operated by Community Health Center of Snohomish County (CHC Snohomish), at Auburn Mountainview High School operated by Sea Mar Community Health Centers, and at Graham-Kapowsin High School operated by Community Health Care in Tacoma.

SBHCs provide essential services in over 70 schools across the state to ensure that students have access to comprehensive and quality health care. These centers integrate medical, behavioral, dental care, all on or nearby school campuses. This ensures that kids miss less school, parents miss less work, and students get the care that they need in a comfortable setting.

Services at these health centers are available throughout the school year before, during, and after classes to ensure consistent access.

CHC Snohomish’s Business Development Director Zoe Reese said, “I think that’s a huge part for it to feel like a safe place, a private space, and a place that is designed to meet their needs.”

Community Health Care’s Assistant Operations Director, Audria Cordova-Kennedy, also spoke on the aim of expanding access.

“The Bethel School District has allowed us to expand our reach by opening services to not just students and staff but student families,” she said, “We can see the parents and siblings of students [to expand] access to much needed health services. We will remain open all summer to continue that access.”

The SBHCs provide many different services including vaccinations, preventive care, mental health care, health screenings, management of chronic illnesses, and more.

Sea Mar’s Health Center Administrator Marlen Mendez said, “We are so excited to move into our renovated permanent space within the school that will allow us to expand the services provided to students. We continue to be grateful for the strong partnership between Sea Mar and Auburn School District and are looking forward to continuing to serve the needs of the students at large.”

During the most recent 2024 Legislative Session, the Washington Association for Community Health and the Community Health Network of Washington advocated for increased operating and capital funding for SBHCs in partnership with the Washington School-Based Health Alliance.

We asked the legislature to invest $3.36 million in the operating budget to expand funding for the Department of Health SBHC program and $2 million in capital funding for eight SBHC projects, six of which would be run by CHCs. The legislature provided $500 thousand in increased funding to the SBHC program in the operating budget through five grants of $100 thousand each, and the capital budget request was fully funded at $2 million for all eight SBHC projects.

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