The Health Center would not be able to succeed as it has without strong relationships with a significant number of community partners. Indeed, our story is one of collaboration with community partners for the benefit of the students we serve. Our centers are places of trust and our Clinic Coordinators and staff are able to make referrals that are extensions of that trust. Because students see us at school during the working day we can make immediate referrals to needed services.
In some instances these partnerships also provide tangible benefits for the community partner—medical and counseling interns have a venue in which they can offer their expertise in exchange for valuable experience and college students are given opportunities to research educational and social issues.
The following list of community partners illustrates the depth and breadth of our relationships. We do not operate in isolation but continuously reach out to connect with the best resources in our community for the student and their families.
- Blue Mountain Heart to Heart provides several hours a month of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C education and testing.
- Providence St. Mary Medical Center was instrumental in our launch and as an initial funder. For their support, Providence received a national Mission Leadership Award in 2012 from Providence Health Services. We continue to enjoy a collaborative relationship with Providence that goes beyond funding support, with them providing in-kind resources and helping us establish laboratory set-up and certification. During the 2013 holiday season, PSMMC staff came together for a successful food drive for our Lincoln clinic providing healthy snacks that we distribute daily.
- Walla Walla Clinic a private clinical and procedural health care facility, provides supplies at cost, as well as advice and general mentoring as needed for the Lincoln clinic. Additionally, four clinic physicians take time to volunteer each month.
- WW County Health Department
works closely with us for our sexually transmitted infection and communicable disease programming, as well as our childhood vaccine and dental education programs. Students are referred to the health department for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and other programs as necessary. The Health Center is involved with the County MAPP process, the Communicable Disease and Teen Pregnancy Action Group, and the Walla Walla Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.
- Benton Franklin Community Action Connections provided staff with invaluable information about helping our families sign up for health insurance under the new Affordable Care Act and trained staff to be certified Navigators in the Health Benefit Exchange.
- Walla Walla County Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) assists when Lincoln High School students are incarcerated by allowing The Health Center behavioral health counselors access to provide therapy. Additionally, JJC staff will arrange transportation for incarcerated students to The Health Center at Lincoln if necessary.
- WW County Department of Human Services partners with us to offer seamless care and to ensure that there is no duplication of services for those students who also utilize THC. We also refer many students and their families, to them, for counseling services.
- Walla Walla School District is currently donating space and utilities in the Blue Ridge Elementary School’s nursing office for our clinic to operate during hours when the school nurse is not there. We also work closely at Lincoln High School to track students and follow progress towards graduation. Additionally, our staff participates in health education and promotion activities conducted in classrooms and during assemblies. We are active and involved partners with the district, serving on the Lincoln High School Facilities Task Force (2013) and are currently working on the School Health Advisory Committee. Our staff is also involved in the after school program at Lincoln and Blue Ridge with funding from the 21st Century Grant. We promote physical activity and heart health with our jump rope club at Blue Ridge and facilitate engagement between Lincoln and Blue Ridge students.
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services collaborates with THC to provide qualifying students medical insurance and assist with Basic Food applications for students who are homeless.
- Seattle School of Theology and Psychology provides a student intern in the Masters of Psychology Counseling program who sees clients for individual counseling three days a week and leads a social-skills class at Lincoln High School twice a week.
- Walla Walla University has partnered with THC, from the beginning, through their Masters in Social Work and Masters in Psychology program by providing interns for our mental health programs at Lincoln.
- Washington State University provided medical services via a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner intern in 2013
- Whitman College provides opportunities for their psychology interns to be involved at The Health Center and encourages different groups to assist in smaller projects such as cleaning and renovation. Most recently the State of the State for Washington Latinos class completed a year long research project, which focused on policy and funding opportunities for School Based Health Clinics in the state of Washington.
- AAUW and Sunrise Rotary are major supporters in the “Caring for Co-pays” collaboration to help offset co-pay costs for students. AAUW also provides baked goods and other supplies for our group meetings, and they have been instrumental as volunteers for fundraisers and as supporters.
- Children’s Resilience Initiative our community’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) advocacy organization works with our staff and volunteers to help those affected and to prevent the occurrence of more ACEs in Walla Walla.
- Commitment to Community (C2C) is a neighborhood support organization that works by engaging neighbors to address local needs. THC staff collaborated to broaden the acceptance of the new school based concept in the Blue Ridge Elementary School neighborhood. We continue to work with staff visiting homes, plus on school events and family nights.
- Farm to School Advisory Committee The Health Center is a member of the Advisory Committee whose goal it is to model collaboration between the district’s nutrition services and the community with a focus on using more local produce while educating students about better choices for healthy eating and care. Our staff oversees the Harvest of the Month options for both Lincoln and Blue Ridge.
- Gang Call In is a collaboration among criminal justice and service providers in the Walla Walla Valley to address violent gang crime and acknowledge that incarceration and arrest does not solve the problem. THC has been part of the first preliminary gang call in, which invites gang members and their families to be a part of a conversation on choices, alternatives and resources in the community.
- Ink-Out is a community driven, locally sponsored tattoo removal process aimed at helping gang members and other people remove gang, drug and socially unacceptable tattoos in their effort to make positive changes in their lives. This collaboration between Adventist Health and Walla Walla General Hospital—where the machine is house and staffed—and a community oversight committee has been a powerful show of how many groups working together can make a change. THC has an active role, serving as the information and intake process source.
- Recovery Oriented Systems of Care Learning Collaborative is a community action group designed to use the existing structure within our community to strategize ways of addressing the full continuum of care for adolescent and family substance abuse from prevention through recovery.
- Youth Alliance: The Health Center is involved with the coalition of community groups working to establish and build a youth services facility focusing on sheltering homeless teens in the central Walla Walla area.
- Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC) was one of our original partners. They offered us available space next to Lincoln’s campus to establish our clinic. They continue to partner with us on our current space through upkeep. We administrate the “Homeless Flex Fund”, which assists homeless youth at Lincoln, on a case-by-case basis, in obtaining needed assistance with a priority on providing clothing and medicine.
- Catholic Charities donates 10 hours of counseling services a month through its Executive Director who leads a Guys Group and also provides individual counseling.
- Michelle Coleman, LICSW, LLC, has provided supervision for mental health counselors and offers advice for reestablishing our ability to bill for mental health services. She has been a tremendous resource for families and students who are unable to access THC and in turn refers students to us for further care and case management.
- Washington Service Corps provides two AmeriCorps members who serve at both clinics and are key to operating our Blue Ridge site. The Health Center has had two previous AmeriCorps members.
- Washington Alliance for School Health Care is a state-wide advocacy volunteer organization committed to advancing health care access in schools and helping ensure the health and academic success of children and youth throughout Washington. THC is a founding member of the WASHC organization and our Executive Director serves on the Executive Board.