School-Based Health Center Spotlight: Barbara Lee Center for Health & Wellness @ San Leandro High

Youth Consultant Allison Chan, BSN, RN, PHN, visits the Barbara Lee Center for Health & Wellness.

By Allison Chan, BSN, RN, PHN

The Barbara Lee Center for Health & Wellness is located in San Leandro, California in Alameda County. Unlike most other school-based health centers, the Barbara Lee Center is a “school-linked health center,” which means the health center is located off campus, but also is conveniently located right across the street from San Leandro High School! Being a school-linked health center means it’s a partner with San Leandro Unified School District (SLUSD) and has the ability to serve any student within SLUSD and their direct family members.

SLUSD was the leading agency in building the Barbara Lee Center, with associated partners from Native American Health Center, East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), and SLUSD health educators. The Barbara Lee Center operates five days a week and provides medical, dental, behavioral, and social services on-site with specialty services varying on specific days. Trained and licensed family nurse practitioners are on site three days a week, running four medical exam rooms providing primary care, preventative care, physical exams, medication prescriptions, and reproductive health services. Dentists and dental assistants are also on-site two days a week equipped with two brand new dental exam chairs to provide cleanings to students and family members as well. Also, instead of interns, this health center has a licensed clinical social worker.

In addition to providing direct health services, the Barbara Lee Center also provides programs geared toward youth development. For example, the Health Education Action Team (also known as HEAT), comes together to discuss weekly health topics to share with the school and San Leandro community. Students involved with HEAT organize school campaigns and workshops to bring awareness to various health concerns and highlights.

In an interview with Atziri Rodriguez, the Program Manager at the Barbara Lee Wellness Center, she would like to highlight the importance of a school-based health center, especially new ones like the Barbara Lee Center. The success of a school-based health center relies on building relationships and integrating itself into the school and community. Developing an up and running school-based health center is a process, as it takes time to build rapport and establish a “community” with students, administrators, and the entire community itself. Students and families need to feel connected to where they receive care, as that is what holds them and brings them back for well child check up and health appointments. Trust and reliability are key factors.

This is the Barbara Lee Center’s third year since opening their doors, and they have seen tremendous growth over the years through their variety of services for students and SLUSD community members with over 370 clients and 1,300 visits. The center hopes to increase its availability of services as the demand and need grows!

The Journey to Promoting Mental Wellness

By Michel’le Bailey

“Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe and have faith that everything will work out for the best.”

What is the main phrase we hear from our youth that we may have even said when we were their age?

Well, let’s try to understand!

From my standpoint, mental health affects everything. The personal challenges that adolescents deal with are heavy: school, relationships, peer pressure, outside activities, home life. Some even have jobs, and not to mention that their bodies are changing. For an adolescent, that is a lot to juggle and there is stress that comes with wanting to be able to handle everything.

Mental health is broadly seen as an adult condition. On the contrary, it can be serious for any and everyone, including young adults, teens, and children. Rarely do teens and children voice what they are going through. Did you know that half of all disorders start at the age of 14? I have put together a youth’s perspective on mental health to be the voice needed and to shed light on the facts that mental health affects everyone and that if not treated and discussed can lead to concerning health problems.

The lethargy adolescents carry come from various aspects of daily life: school, home and family, friends, and activities outside of school, and mainly just the realization that as they grow up, their life is drastically changing around them.

I want to understand what adolescents are going through, so I conducted a survey and passed it out to both middle and high school students, and also youth members of communities that either had a health clinic near or not near.

My goal was to conduct surveys that were completely confidential that forced students/adolescent members of the community to think about mental health factors in their daily lives and to see if the survey will affect them enough to use or consider using the health center and the services provided.

Although my survey had many questions, I only focused on the overall goal of the survey which was to find out the answer to 2 questions:

If you had access to a health clinic aimed and designed to address the multifaceted needs of children, youth, and families, would you take advantage of its services in terms of yours or someone else’s health needs?


If you are suffering from loneliness, social anxiety, thoughts of harm, thoughts of hopelessness, thoughts of not being good enough, not having friends, or not having someone to talk to, would you consider speaking to a qualified mental health specialist who passes no judgement, keeps your discussions confidential, and is always near?

In order to further grasp their attention, I went on to provide a detailed list of the many services some may offer:

The school health clinics offer great services as in physicals, mental health, dental hygiene, sexual health, nutrition and fitness, vision, teen dating violence, depression, behavior problems, academic performance, substance abuse, sexuality or relationships, asthma and diabetes treatment, reproductive health services, abstinence counseling, pregnancy prevention, and STD/HIV testing and treatment Services are provided at no or low cost to clients. No one is refused service for inability to pay.

Click here for the survey data report!

The survey had questions that asked about social life, home life, school life, personal life, and the effects of social media. From my research, it was reported that every single participant is currently experiencing some type of mental health crisis. While some feel that their issue is not a big deal, others wish that they could speak out about their issues without being shot down.

To name a few, some issues included:

  • depression
  • verbal abuse
  • physical abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • suicide
  • drugs
  • unsafe sexual lifestyle
  • anxiety

The purpose of this survey and the reason for this choice of subject is personally I struggle with mental illness and as a college student, it is difficult to want to pursue or continue school because of all the stresses of daily life. It made me wonder when I started to feel so down and I realized it started my sophomore (10th grade) year in high school. I felt and still feel so sad, hopeless, not good enough. It is hard as an adult to admit that I am not well when I feel the weight of my family on my shoulders. It is both positive and negative attention that they spring out on me and I feel like I am in a hole with no rope or ladder to climb or pull my way out.

And as I said before, if I, an adult, am feeling this way, and if it started when I was an adolescent, then what can I do now as an adult to prevent it from happening to adolescents who feel like no one understands?

I thought the answer was to tell everyone who partook in my survey and whose results came back that they have some type of mental illness developing to seek counseling. But it was then I realized that that way is all wrong. Especially since at that age, ages 18 and under, adolescents are vulnerable and will mistake everything someone says as “There is something wrong with you, you need to go to a doctor, you’re CRAZY!!” The youth don’t need people to convince them that they are worthy, though some would like to hear it once in a while. The youth also don’t need to hear that they are not broken nor do they need fixing. Dealing with youth can be tricky, which is why sometimes a presence is all that is needed.

The answer is to focus more on informing and teaching adolescents about mental wellness instead of treatment and prevention.

Fun Fact: Did you know that there is a petition that asks the “U.S. Senate: Please DECLARE APRIL Young People Awareness Month.” If you click on to sign, you can help with this petition to bring awareness to young people and to acknowledge their everyday needs.

Reframing the Crisis: Opportunities in School-Based Health Center Dental Services

By Molly Wu

Oral health support in school-based health centers is facing two main issues: funding and coverage. Oral health is unlike mental health or physical health. Less attention is given to oral health than other aspects of health because of the cost and popularity. As we all know, the cost of dental care is not always affordable, especially for students who come from families with high socioeconomic needs. According to the article School-Based Health Centers Facing Cuts Under Governor’s Proposed Budget, there were 96 school-based health centers in Connecticut impacted by the decline in state funding since 2014. Three of them eventually closed in 2016 due to lack of funding. Before these three centers were forced to closed completely, they looked for ways to stick with the schools and students until the last minute. But with the funding crisis, dental health services were the first to go due to the high costs and its relatively “low” significance to students.

State and other sources of funding carefully examine the needs of funding before distributing money to school-based health centers. Medical, behavioral and mental health services are usually the ones that have the greatest impact on students. As a result, these services generally receive more attention from the public, and therefore more funds from institutional sectors. Oral health services become a minority in this case, and we have a lot of room to improve the coverage of dental services in school-based health centers. There are more students with dental problems than we can think of due to the lack of education and service they receive. Their expressions of dental issues are not very clear and strong, which cause us to underestimate the importance of dental health service in school-based health centers.

Due to lack of funding, some school-based health centers might decide to skip dental services and put that residual funding into medical health, behavioral health and mental health services. However, the important part of dental health service is not about remedy, but rather prevention and education. It costs about $2001 per child for standard preventative services, such as general exams, cleanings, and x-rays. It might seem like a lot of money when you first see this amount, but compared to other treatments and procedures like fillings and extractions, it is much more affordable since these services cost at least three or four times less than special treatments.

When we talk about school-based dental care, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to provide the full scope of service like a dentist’s office. Offering students the appropriate and timely education and providing them with general check-ups are more important. This help can eliminate the gap between students and dentists’ offices and solve the problem from the origin. The impact will be more profound and meaningful in the long term.

1Average Cost Of Dental Exam And Cleaning | Kool Smiles. (n.d.). Retrieved from

School-Based Health Center Spotlight: Shop 55 @ Oakland High

Youth Board Consultant Allison Chan, BSN, RN visits Shop 55 at Oakland High School.

Youth Board Consultant Allison Chan, BSN, RN, PHN visits Shop 55 at Oakland High School.

By Allison Chan, BSN, RN, PHN

Shop 55 is a school-based health center located at Oakland High School in Oakland, California. Being conveniently located on campus, it allows students to easily access health services without missing school. The health center not only functions as a clinic, but also a resource center centered around youth development and engagement.

Shop 55 is run by a partnership of a variety of agencies, including Asian American Health Services, La Clinica, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), and East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC). EBAYC is a large organization rooted in the community and supported by over 2,000 youth and family members. They develop afterschool programs, participate in civil and social engagement, tackle important topics, and work on strategies to involve officials and businesses in the community. The EBAYC Board of Directors is comprised of parents, students, neighborhoods and community members, with over half of board members being former participants of EBAYC.

Building Shop 55 stemmed from a community effort that involved students, teachers, and the entire community. Shop 55 is sustained through various city, county, and agency funding and reimbursements through MediCal. The clinic is open Tuesdays and Thursdays with doctors, nurse practitioners, school nurses, behavioral partners and medical assistants on site. The clinic provides direct medical and reproductive health services, health care case management, first aid, mobile dental, hearing, vision, individual and group counseling, and an on-call crisis counseling line. One amazing way Shop 55 has found a way to maximize their services is to provide all-over care for improving student health and academic learning – for example, if a student fails a vision or hearing exam, they are given new free glasses or given referrals for hearing aids to decrease any academic obstacles that may be present.

Shop 55 posters created by Oakland High students to show support for immigrant communities.

Shop 55 posters created by Oakland High students to show support for immigrant communities.

While also serving as a clinic, Shop 55 is big on youth development and engagement. They offer many opportunities for students, such as afterschool programs, academic support, enrichment programs, employment and internship positions, leadership-based research projects, and even has a Youth Advisory Board (YAB) to address various issues, advocate, and bring about awareness, change, and policy. Shop 55 at Oakland High School also has a Public Health Academy, where students learn about health careers and education from actual health professionals who teach them practical skills and expose students to the world of healthcare.

In an interview with Rany Ath, Director of Shop 55, she highlights the phrase “one-stop shop” to represent Shop 55. If it’s one thing she wants everyone to know, it’s that Shop 55 is a collective and collaborative effort that requires dedication, commitment, integration, partnership, and intersection in the Oakland High and Oakland community. All these qualities are embedded in their work in decreasing health barriers to achieve greater academic success and achievement, as well as decreasing the stigma of what school-based health centers are by providing a spectrum of services for youth that involves privacy and neutrality.

2014 Youth Conferences Focus on Health Careers

LAUSD high school students at the Y2Y SoCal conference on March 28.

LAUSD high school students at the Y2Y SoCal conference on March 28.

More than 120 youth from Northern and Southern California attended two separate conferences in March and April that focused on educating high school students about careers in health care. All participants are active members of the youth advisory boards at their school-based health centers.

See our photos from Los Angeles and Oakland.

Youth advisory boards provide students with leadership opportunities through peer health education, school and community advocacy programs, and health care internships and jobs. We developed these one-day conferences in partnership with the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the California Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development in order to cultivate an interest in health care careers in youth who are served by school-based health centers. Our goal is for students who benefit from school-based health care to pursue a career as a health care provider in order to better serve the needs of California’s kids.

Students speak with adults who are pursuing careers in public health.

Students speak with adults who are pursuing careers in public health.

In Los Angeles, 60 LAUSD high school students learned about health care careers and public health challenges that affect their communities, all while meeting fellow youth advisory board members from other schools. The L.A. Trust helped us organize the March 28 conference, which was hosted by The California Endowment at their beautiful downtown L.A. headquarters.

In Oakland, we brought together 66 students from high schools in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, and San Jose. The April 9 NorCal conference was also graciously hosted by The California Endowment at their Oakland conference center. Students participated in the following activities throughout the day:

  • A keynote address by Dr. Tomás A. Magaña, founder and Director of the FACES of the Future Coalition.
  • Panel conversations with adults who are either pursuing a career in public health or already practicing. Panelists included two physicians, a medical assistant pursuing a nursing degree, a family nurse, and two health educators.
  • An overview of mental health disorders presented by NAMI California.
  • A workshop on how to advocate for healthier school lunch choices, presented by the Youth Wellness Team at Oakland Tech High School.
  • Workshops on public speaking and applying to medical school, presented by our Youth Board.
  • A health career resource fair staffed by the Alameda County Health Pipeline Partnership.

Our 2014 conferences build on our successful 2013 events and are a continuation of our work to develop the capacity of school-based health center youth advisory boards. Are you interested in learning how you can build youth engagement at your school-based health center? Contact us to learn more.

Statewide Youth Gatherings Boost Skills, Leadership

Y2Y-SoCal-AttendeesWe brought together nearly 200 high school students and more than 60 adult allies during two Youth-2-Youth (Y2Y) conferences — one in Oakland on February 13 and one in Los Angeles on April 5. The gatherings increased leadership skills for youth peer-to-peer health educators from high schools in Northern and Southern California.

In mid-February our Y2Y Network hosted Y2Y NorCal in Oakland that was attended by 105 people — including 75 youth and 30 adult allies — from 18 high schools in the greater Bay Area. Y2Y SoCal was held April 5 in Los Angeles and brought together 101 youth and 31 adult allies from six high schools, with adult allies also representing several health care and health justice organizations in the L.A. region.

NorCal Photos | NorCal Video | SoCal Photos

Y2Y NorCal Symposium 2013Both events were well organized by our Youth Board. The NorCal conference was hosted by The California Endowment at their beautiful facility overlooking downtown Oakland, while the SoCal event was held at the Children’s Bureau’s cheery and art-filled Magnolia Place Family Center in South Los Angeles.

Youth participants attended workshops aimed at increasing public speaking skills, getting a better understanding of the impact popular culture has on public health, developing leadership skills, learning about pathways to pursuing a higher education in public health, and maximizing their impact as community leaders.

Adult allies attended workshops aimed at leveraging their strengths as coordinators, as well as building greater public visibility for their health centers and their youth-led programs.

Visit our Y2Y Network page for more information and to see a summary of past activities.


Garfield Y2Y Youth Prep for Final Presentation

On May 17, Youth Board member Daniel Yim met with six young student leaders in Garfield High School. Daniel was helping them prepare the data that they have collected in the last month on the accessibility of Garfield’s school based health center.

Along with prepping the data, Daniel also made them practice their speaking points in order for them to take the data to the Garfield school administrators to get the school health center be more accessible to the students. “Essentially, when I said that I wanted everyone to be prepared to share/speak to administrators they all gasped, WHAT?” said Daniel about the students’ reaction to what they needed to do to present the data. Daniel explained that the students are enthusiastic about the opportunity and he will be meeting with them regularly to assist them with the presentation and other goals that they want to reach.

The student leaders will meet with school administrators on Monday, June 4th.

Student Coalition Gets to the ROOTS

Students from Richmond and De Anza High Schools discuss health hot spots throughout the Bay

Throughout the months of March and April, members of the West Contra Costa Unified School District Student Coalition (link to page) have participated in a series of workshops entitled “Space MATTERS.” Facilitated by University of California, Berkeley students Cynthia Karina Leon and Becky Lee, the coalition members analyzed systemic health issues and decades-old policies that have led to disparate health outcomes for low-income communities throughout the Bay Area. For more information on the “Space MATTERS” workshop series, please contact Kat Gutierrez at

First Statewide Youth-to-Youth (Y2Y) Conference

The first statewide Y2Y Conference in Sacramento was held in conjunction with our statewide conference. The Y2Y Conference hosted 31 students from nine high schools across the state that are part of CSHC’s Y2Y Program. Our Y2Y sites shared their current youth-led research projects on topics such as teen pregnancy, school safety, mental health services, and SBHC usage. The youth also participated in School Health Day at the Capitol, and many made their first legislative visits ever.