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.
Students “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.
California 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:
“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.”