School-based health centers help students thrive

School-based health centers play a big part in the health, academic success, and graduation rates of students. These clinics send an important message to students that getting care is normal and healthy. And by bringing the services to where the students are, it allows sick children to get better so they can focus on learning.

Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools awarded grants for new school-based health centers that will open this fall at Bethel Middle School in Spanaway with services provided by Community Health Care and at John R. Rogers High School in Spokane with care provided by Community Health Association of Spokane. The centers will offer medical care, dental, mental health services, insurance enrollment, and more.

Kaiser Permanente Washington, formerly Group Health, began opening and working within school-based health centers (SBHCs) in King County in the 1990s, funded by the City of Seattle Families and Education Levy. Since their creation, interest and support continues to expand across the state, especially in areas where kids may have barriers to getting health care.

Students in schools with these centers can be seen for standard preventive care — immunizations, sports physicals and routine medical concerns such as headaches and cramps—in addition to mental health services.

The availability and convenience of these multidisciplinary clinics allows students to be diagnosed and treated quickly. If a student were to visit the clinic with a stomach ache, for example, and the medical provider determined that the ache is a symptom of anxiety, the student could be referred to meet with the counselor.

Kaiser Permanente provides mental health services at 8 locations, and medical care in 5 of these sites. King County Public Health provides primary care at the other 3.

Locations with health care and mental health services provided by Kaiser Permanente

  • Aki Kurose Middle School
  • Washington Middle School
  • Franklin High School
  • Nathan Hale High School
  • Interagency Academy

Locations with Kaiser Permanente mental health services and health care provided in partnership by Seattle & King County Department of Public Health

  • Cleveland High School
  • Ingraham High School
  • Rainier Beach High School


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