New providers welcome students to School-Based Health Centers
Students returning to Lincoln County schools found new faces waiting for them and it wasn’t just in the classroom. School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) in three of the four high schools have new nurse practitioners providing primary care this year. SBHCs are a service provided by Lincoln County Health and Human Services. These federally qualified health centers provide physical exams, diagnosis and treatment of minor illnesses, immunizations, mental health screening, and treatment of minor injuries to area students. Physical and mental health services are delivered by licensed professionals from Lincoln Community Health Center, including nurse practitioners, a registered nurse, and mental health clinicians. Two new nurse practitioners are joining the primary care team this year.
Susan Speece, FNP, has worked with adolescents before and is looking forward to treating the children at Newport High School on Thursdays and Fridays, and the students in Waldport on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. “These are my peeps,” the nurse practitioner said enthusiastically. “I’m looking forward to students coming in and serving as a resource for them, no matter what questions they may have. I didn’t have the ability to talk to a healthcare professional at that age, so I think it’s a pretty cool thing,” she added. Speece has undergraduate degrees in psychology and nursing from Wayne State University in Detroit, and earned a Master’s in Nursing from the University of Detroit Mercy. Corie Charnley came to work for Lincoln County HHS in June of this year and will be a new face at Taft High School on Mondays and Wednesdays. Charnley is a graduate of Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) where she earned her RN degree, Master’s degree and doctorate. She has worked in primary care in the Portland area, first as part of a street team delivering services to the homeless and later in a clinic setting. “I’m really looking forward to working with the students,” Charnley said. “What I really like about this age is that they are just starting to build their own autonomy and healthcare is a perfect place to do it. This is how they will learn to be proactive about their health and their bodies and I’m excited to be able to support them in that. Charnley is also pleased that students can receive mental health services at the SBHCs, too. “I think that is fantastic. I came from a clinic that had integrated primary care and mental health. The fact that we can provide those services under one roof is very special. We can get so much more done on their behalf when we’re all able to collaborate,” she added.
Jessica Hubbard, program manager for the SBHCs, said she’s pleased with the team she has in place for this school year. Joining Speece and Charnley is Jason Vang-Erickson, NP, who is the veteran provider among the three. He will see students in Toledo on Thursdays and Fridays. “I am excited that we have these providers in each of the schools for two days each week, in addition to Crystal Pickner, RN, who spends one day a week in each school. Our primary care team is joined by behavioral health providers and certified medical assistants who are on hand in each location,” she said.
As federally qualified health centers, SBHCs offer affordable services and all Lincoln County School District students may utilize them. The presence of these clinics in schools reduces barriers like cost and transportation that might keep children from getting the care they need. To learn more about the SBHCs and other area health services, visit www.lincolncommunityhealthcenter.com.