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Petaluma, Santa Rosa health clinics get $1 million federal funding boost for schools

  • Medical assistant Marjorie Diaz updates the immunizations of Elsie Allen High School student Asael Fernandez at the Elsie Allen Health Center in 2011. (PD FILE, 2011)

Two community health clinics have been awarded a total of $1 million to provide health care services at high schools in Petaluma and Santa Rosa.

The Petaluma Health Center has been awarded a $500,000 federal grant to construct two new school-based clinics at Casa Grande High School and San Antonio High School, a continuation school.

Santa Rosa Community Health Centers also received a $500,000 grant to renovate and expand services at a clinic it operates on the Elsie Allen High School campus.

Kathie Powell, CEO of the Petaluma Health Center, said the grant would fund the construction of the clinics and pay for the clinics' equipment and medical instruments.

The two clinics are designed to serve students. Services would include general medical, nutrition and health education, immunizations, stress management, dental, mental health and drug and alcohol counseling and family planning. Powell said the clinic would also provide contraceptives.

“High schoolers don't generally go to the doctor. They don't seek out health services but they need them,” Powell said.

Plans call for a new modular building to house a clinic at Casa Grande, while San Antonio will likely receive a modular building that was used by the Petaluma Health Center before it moved into its new building on North McDowell Boulevard last year.

Powell said the San Antonio clinic will also provide well-baby visits for young mothers.

Powell was elated to hear the news of the grant award, which she received late Tuesday while catching up on emails.

“I was at home on my iPhone going through my emails and I started jumping up and down in my bed,” she said.

At Elsie Allen High School, Santa Rosa Community Health Centers plans to reconfigure space in the existing clinic to create two additional exam rooms and a group education/counseling room. A dental exam and preventative treatment room is also planned, along with new flooring, furnishings and equipment.

Naomi Fuchs, CEO of Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, said the revamped Elsie Allen Health Center will provide 5,000 visits a year for about 1,950 patients. Services provided at Elsie Allen will include primary care, dental care, mental health services, and health education.

The funds were among 197 such grants announced Wednesday totaling $80 million and awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul bill. The law directs $200 million toward funding school-based health centers.

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