Reflections from the 2019 National SBH Convention

At the 2019 National School-Based Health Convention, held in Washington, D.C. from June 23-26, five of our staff were among a strong delegation of 30 attendees from California. We were proud to join SBHC champions from across the nation who are leading the charge for more school-based health centers, better federal support, and shared resources to improve SBHCs and the care they deliver to thousands of students and families.

CSHA staff presented workshops that highlighted their expertise and California’s leadership on trauma-informed practices for empowering young men of color; addressing environmental asthma triggers in schools; the legalization of marijuana; SBIRT; and the challenges of confidentiality and consent in school-based health care. Participants were eager to hear from our team and learn more about our resources, including how our Youth Health Worker curriculum helps students address their peers’ substance use and misuse.

Advocacy for school-based health was a highlight of the convention. Eighteen attendees from California, led by our Policy Director, Lisa Eisenberg, visited the offices of 19 elected officials, including Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff. Legislative staff were eager to learn more about how SBHCs are helping California youth and voiced support for our efforts, including the SBHC Reauthorization Act. As a result of our advocacy, four California representatives signed on as cosponsors of HR 2075—Nanette Barragán, Jimmy Gomez, Tony Cárdenas, and Ro Khanna.

We are excited to be part of the growing school-based health movement across the U.S. Next year’s convention takes place in Denver—we hope you can join us there!

2019 Conference Recap

On May 9th and 10th, more than 500 educators, providers, advocates and other leaders joined us for the 2019 California School-Based Health Conference in Redondo Beach. It was a remarkable two days, and I was delighted and inspired to see so many of you there! We’re proud of the work you are doing with young people and the ongoing growth in school-based and school-linked health centers. And we are honored to play a role in bringing this field together to share best practices, reignite our passion for this work, and care for ourselves and each other.

On day 1, over 150 attendees joined us for the pre-conference event Bringing the Clinic to You, which included a panel discussion with experts from mobile school-based health sharing insights about operating mobile clinics for students. After the panel presentation, attendees got a hands-on tour of mobile clinics from T.H.E. Clinic, COACH for Kids, Watts Health, CT Coachworks and the mobile van built by Odulair for the USC School of Dentistry—the largest mobile medical van in the US! This tour got rave reviews.

At our welcome reception, there was time to network, celebrate our field, and learn from poster presentations highlighting exciting research and leading innovations to serve youth and their communities.

On day 2, everyone in attendance was rapt with attention and emotion listening to keynote speaker Tia Martinez shed light on the school-to-prison pipeline. Her presentation tied together history, data, and personal stories to illuminate the polices, economic shifts, and school practices that are failing our boys and young men of color. Everyone wanted more and started the morning inspired in our collective action to build a school-to-wellness pipeline!

Workshops both days addressed everything from SBHC start-up to oral health, trauma and self-care, cannabis use and youth empowerment. We’ve heard from many of you that sessions on vaping, immigration, HIPAA/FERPA, trauma-informed care, and how to create healing school environments were especially salient.

Finally, on Saturday, CSHA, The LA Trust, and our Youth Boards hosted an incredible Y2Y Conference with 150 youth from LAUSD and San Francisco. Students learned from one another and some adult allies, shared their local efforts and projects, and strategized to change the world!

Thanks to our sponsors, exhibitors and presenters, and to The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health for co-hosting this year’s conference and providing staff support. And thanks to all of you!

If you aren’t already, please become a member of CSHA. We can’t continue to do this work successfully without you at every step of the way.

Best wishes from all of us for a healthy and safe summer!

In solidarity,

Tracy & the team at CSHA

Welcoming Tracy Macdonald Mendez, Executive Director of CSHA

We are excited to announce that Tracy Macdonald Mendez, MPH, MPP will be the new Executive Director of the California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA) starting November 26, 2018.

Tracy has a long, rich history of working in school-based health centers (SBHCs) dating back to 1996. With over 25 years of public health experience, she has held numerous managerial and leadership positions in SBHCs, adolescent health, community health centers, health policy, and the health care safety net. She spent over 16 years as an operations manager and director at La Clínica de La Raza, the Bay Area’s largest federally-qualified health center (FQHC) and one of the state’s leaders in providing school-based health care.

With her demonstrated commitment to school health and her deep knowledge of SBHC and FQHC operations and financing, Tracy is well positioned to lead CSHA’s mission to put health care in schools. She cares deeply about the experience of on-the-ground providers and the role CSHA plays in supporting them and the growing school-based health care movement.

Tracy’s vision for expanding school-based health care is driven by her dedication to health equity and social justice. Her leadership and focus on reducing health and education disparities will help CSHA serve the field and support children and youth across the state, particularly those living in underserved areas of California where access to care is needed most.

We invite you to join us in welcoming Tracy as the new Executive Director of the California School-Based Health Alliance. We’d also like to thank Amy Ranger, Acting Executive Director, for her dedication and interim leadership, who will continue at CSHA as Director of Programs. We look forward to continued growth and support for our school-based health partners across the state.


Kim Uyeda, MD, MPH
Chair, Board of Directors

Celebrating Success and Exciting Updates: Here’s What’s New at CSHA

Dear Affiliates, Members, Partners, Funders, and CSHA Community:

We are excited to share an update with you about CSHA’s search for a new executive director and the structure of our organization during this transition period. We have contracted with an executive search firm and have posted our formal job announcement online at CSHA’s website. Our hope is to secure a new executive director by early 2018.

CSHA’s Leadership Team is currently overseeing day-to-day management of the organization during this transition period, with input and guidance from the staff and Board. Amy Manta-Ranger, Director of Programs, has graciously accepted the role of Acting Executive Director and is supported by other members of the leadership team, including Lisa Eisenberg, Policy Director; Dawn Valadez, Development Director; and Maria Salzano, Director of Operations. Additional consultation support is provided by Serena Clayton, former CSHA Executive Director, and Kristin Andersen, former CSHA Associate Director.
With the support and combined experience of current and former staff, Board members, and an executive search firm, we are well-positioned to quickly identify and hire a new executive director. Despite this transition, our work continues, and our commitment to strengthen the school-based health care movement in California is unwavering.

We’re also excited to share the news that the number of SBHCs in California has grown to 257, and we are able to provide more technical assistance to the field than ever before! We are working with partners to expand region-specific training through convenings in the Central Valley and Los Angeles County. Register today for the LA County School Health Centers Conference on October 30!

Work is underway to develop new sustainability toolkits for the field to help address the need for long-term SBHC funding. We are exploring new ways to integrate the best practices in substance use prevention and trauma-informed approaches across the state. Through our Fight Fund project, funded by The California Endowment, we are providing training and technical assistance to SBHCs so they can better provide information about schools and SBHCs as sanctuary sites for undocumented students and families.
Finally, we are excited to share that planning for the 2018 California School-Based Health Conference is underway. We’re already getting amazing workshop proposals, and we anticipate record attendance of 500 providers, educators, and advocates to join us in Sacramento on May 17-18, 2018Submit your workshop proposal today!
Thank you for your commitment to put healthcare where kids are—in schools!  We’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or suggestions. 

On behalf of the staff and Board, thank you,


Amy Manta-Ranger
Acting Executive Director

P.S. Become a member or renew your membership today to secure your exclusive members-only early bird registration rate for our 2018 California School-Based Health Conference in Sacramento on May 17-18, 2018.

New Opportunities for CSHA Leadership

The Board and staff of the California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA) are proud of the work we have done in the past year to grow the school-based health care movement across the state. In a time of great uncertainty about health care, the Alliance has worked to secure its place as a leader in the field. We will continue to pursue opportunities to strengthen the Alliance and deepen our commitment to the health and success of California’s children.

Today we announce that Judy Appel, Executive Director, has resigned to pursue an unexpected opportunity to run for California State Assembly (District 15). The recent announcement by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond to run for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction created the chance for Judy to continue her service to her community in a new capacity: the State Assembly. Judy remains committed to the mission of CSHA, and the Board and staff applaud her dedication to public service.

We recognize the need for a full-time, permanent executive director to lead CSHA and build on the momentum and success of the school-based health care movement. As we initiate a nationwide search for a new executive director, the Board and staff are developing an interim plan that will ensure the continued, smooth operation of the Alliance.

CSHA continues to play a pivotal role in putting health care where kids are—in schools. The commitment of our members, funders, and the communities we serve continues to be the bedrock that allows us to make exciting and important changes that drive the school-based health care movement forward and improve the health and success of children across California.

Creating Change for Young Male Survivors of Violence

“I wish that people like me had come and talked to me when I was young,” Malik Ali comments as he reflects on his own experiences growing up in Richmond, CA, where violence was pervasive and supportive role models were few. As a young person, he struggled in school and was in and out of the juvenile justice system. Today, his perseverance and resilience to overcome the obstacles of his youth are gifts that he draws upon to reach young men like him. “My goal is to serve as a role model, mentor, and counselor,” he remarks.

Ali is one of four clinical case managers hired this year as part of the Young Men’s Empowerment Collaborative (YMEC). The YMEC is a partnership between the West Contra Costa Unified School District, the California School-Based Health Alliance, Bay Area Community Resources, the YMCA of the East Bay, Catholic Charities of the East Bay, and other community-based organizations. The collaborative aims to increase educational and health equity for boys and young men of color who have experienced complex trauma stemming from community violence and crime across five schools in Richmond, CA, by meeting the following goals:

  1. Create a supportive school climate for young male survivors of violence by enhancing restorative, trauma-informed systems of care and strengthening the ability of school staff to recognize trauma survivors, respond effectively, and refer them for appropriate services.
  2. Increase the portion of young male survivors of violence who are identified and served by expanding screening and outreach.
  3. Create an effective response to violence through the use of evidence-based interventions in school-based health centers to help boys and young men of color at school.

    Malik Ali (left) and Shawn Baker (right) serve as YMEC Clinical Case Managers with the YMCA of the East Bay.

Nearing the end of the first year of implementation, the YMEC cultivated relationships with nearly 300 young men of color on school campuses. 43% of these students reported experiencing high exposure to traumatic events, like community violence. Subsequently, they were referred to the YMEC Clinical Case Managers, like Ali, and invited to participate in young men’s groups that focused on helping them understand and address their trauma and grief. The groups also provided these youth with skills to cope during stressful, triggering moments and connected them with others who may share similar experiences.

In reflecting on the impact that the YMEC has already had, Ali adds that the collaborative has increased resources and supports for students to cope with their stress and triggers. “Students now have a space that they can go to when they are feeling overwhelmed and a person who they can call on day or night and will listen to them without judgment.”

Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime.

Fresno OKs Six New SBHCs

The Fresno Unified School District Board of Supervisors on February 8, 2017, approved six new school-based health centers (SBHCs) to benefit nearly 7,000 students.

Fresno Unified School DistrictStudents “benefit from having quality health care, which keeps them in school longer, makes them more successful, and immediately impacts their learning,” Acting Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson said at a press event announcing the plans to build the new SBHCs.

Fresno opened its first school-based health center at Gaston Middle School in 2014. Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit provided generous support to facilitate the planning of the new SBHCs in partnership with Fresno Unified. The six new sites will be operated in partnership with Clinica Sierra Vista and Valley Children’s Healthcare and are planned for Addams and Bakman elementary schools; Tehipite and Sequoia middle schools; and Duncan Polytechnic and Sunnyside high schools. 

Fresno Unified School DistrictCalifornia School-Based Health Alliance Project Director Salina Mendoza provided Fresno Unified with background on the values of school-based health care, and partnered with Kaiser Permanente, Clinica Sierra Vista, and Valley Children’s Healthcare on planning the new sites.

Valley Children’s Healthcare CEO Todd Suntrapak outlined the fiscal and public health benefits of putting health care directly into Fresno’s schools:

Fresno Unified School District“Last year, we took care of 37,599 kids that were located within three miles of each one of these six clinics. We believe in partnering with Clinica Sierra Vista and Fresno Unified, we won’t just be committed to addressing episodic acute health care needs of kids, but we will be able to … improve and sustain the health and wellbeing of kids.”

See more in a video of the press event and on the Fresno Bee website.

School Health Care Remains Popular in CA

School-based health care is growing in California and providing more services and health care access for students.  There are now 246 school-based health centers (SBHCs) providing high-quality health care to students. Across California, more than 265,000 students attend a school that has a health center, and many more have access to other types of school health services.

This is more than double the number a decade ago. Of the 246 SBHCs, 159 offer mental health care, 69 offer dental treatment, and 129 offer youth engagement programs that keep kids engaged in school and thinking about their future.

SBHCs are so popular because they offer convenient health care for kids in a setting families already know and trust.

Students who utilize SBHCs are less likely to go to the emergency room or be hospitalized, keeping costs down. SBHCs also improve attendance, reduce dropout rates, improve school climate, and support students’ academic achievement. Schools and school districts partner with health service providers to finance SBHCs.

More Information on California’s SBHCs

There are 246 SBHCs serving more than 265,000 students across California. SBHCs are usually located directly on a school campus and provide primary care like any health clinic. Staff vary in size, and typically includes nurse practitioners, nurses, mental health providers, as well as part-time physicians and medical students. Services are provided at no or low cost. No one is refused service for inability to pay.

Services Offered

Service Number Percentage
Medical 213
Health Education 175 71%
Mental Health
159 64%
Reproductive Health – Screening & Education
150 60%
Reproductive Health – Clinical Care 140 56%
Youth Engagement 129 52%
Dental Prevention 123
Dental Treatment


Sponsoring Org Types

Type of Sponsoring Organization Number Percentage
Community Clinic 137 57%
School District 65 27%
Local Health Department 11 5%
Hospital 9 4%
Nonprofit Organization 7 2%
Mental Health Agency 8 3%
Tribal Government 1 .5%
Other 4 1.5%


Onsite SBHC Location Level 

School Level Number Percentage
High School  120  49%
Elementary School  60  24%
Middle School  27  11%
Other (school-linked/mobile/combined levels)  39  16%



Moving Forward, No Matter What

School-based health care providers and those who advocate for the well-being of children and teens help hold our community.

This election has been a particularly divisive time, and as you work to care for students and their families, we will continue to support you and your work. We will work hard to uphold the gains we have made and build on them.

There is some really good news to share: the following key ballot measures passed that will provide critical support to our school children.

  • Proposition 55 will raise billions every year to fund K-12 schools.
  • Proposition 51 will bring in billions to fund school renovations and facilities upgrades.
  • Proposition 56 will tax tobacco sales and bring in extra revenue for Medi-Cal.
  • Proposition 57 will decrease the ability to try juveniles as adults in court.
  • Local soda tax measures prevailed in communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

These are all wins for promoting student health and success in our state and we are hopeful that school-based health services will benefit from these new sources of funding.

We still don’t know what this week’s presidential election will mean for the federal policies that have improved the lives of children and families in our state.

Let’s remember that emotions may be running high among families of the children whose lives are changed by school-based health services. Students in our schools are fortunate to have you to help them address any possible stress. And again, as you support them, we are here to support you.

We will not back down from our commitment to helping communities across California bring access to mental and physical health care for all students at school, no matter what.

#Health4All Brings Us Closer to Health Equity

By Lourdes Bernal
Lourdes at work

Lourdes helps parents understand eligibility for expanded Medi-Cal.

Getting health care has always been a battle for undocumented, low-income Californians. It has always meant waiting until the last minute to visit a provider, and trying to downplay pain and discomfort from illness or injuries.

The parents of undocumented children work extra hard to pay bills and put food on the table, and many young people are conscious of the added stress of paying for health care. Many undocumented children minimize care to maximize their family’s security.

Thanks to legislation enacted in 2012, many young people have become eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is a program that allows undocumented young people to be employed legally and be eligible to receive Medi-Cal, our state’s Medicaid assistance program for low-income Californians.  This helped a lot, but many young people who were ineligible for DACA were still left out.

This year Medi-Cal expanded to include all income-eligible children and youth under 19, regardless of immigration status. This historic expansion provides thousands of kids in California with access to previously restricted care. 

At the California School-Based Health Alliance, I work closely with schools in the Bay Area to spread awareness about this opportunity so more parents can enroll their kids in coverage. My goal is to create a pathway to access for the many students who feel  that health care is not an option for them because of the cost and because of where they were born.

I am proud I can help parents understand there are options for their children to access health care, and that doing so does not come at the risk of financial burdens, or worse, separation and deportation. I take pride in sharing new options for coverage with parents who are sacrificing so much so their children can thrive. 

Free resources on expanded Medi-Cal:

This outreach is personal to me because I understand the vital importance of having access to care. I’ve seen how access provides you with the opportunity to live better in this place we call home.

I am also proud to be working in partnership with school-based health centers because, in addition to providing vital access to care, they give children and youth a safe space to be themselves without fear. School-based health centers are an important part of an education system that makes it possible for young people to dream, thrive, and succeed.

I believe in expanded Medi-Cal and #Health4All because I know that California is stronger when we are all healthy.

Lourdes Bernal is the Communications Program Assistant at the California School-Based Health Alliance and is helping schools educate parents and students about expanded Medi-Cal for all kids.