Clinic rescued by new site, monies

The county-run Teen Wellness Center, a free clinic which treats roughly 2,200 students each year, has been rescued by the school district’s board of trustees and will receive a new home later this year.

The Sequoia High School District’s board of trustees on Wednesday pledged up to $1.3 million to build a new, permanent site for the center, which has been housed in a large portable building on the Sequoia High School campus.

The center faced closure following a state order to move the facilitiesfrom its temporary location. For the last four years, the clinic has served anyone age 12 to 21 — many of whom might not otherwise see doctors when they’re sick or need advice, Clinic Manager Jonathan Mesinger said.

“[The clinic] makes such a tremendous difference in the educational abilities of students” by keeping them in good health and providing support, said trustee Olivia Martinez. “The faculty and staff at Sequoia were adamant about the need for this, and we can surmise that’s the case at all the high schools.”

Run by the San Mateo County Medical Center, the $800,000 per year clinic is fully staffed with a doctor, three part-time nurse practitioners, one nurse and a handful of support staff. The clinic offers a number of services, from sports physicals to birth control, pregnancy tests and substance-abuse treatment, Mesinger said.

All services are free, and many, including reproductive health and mental health, are kept confidential from parents. According to surveys conducted by the county, students have raved about the clinic.

“[The center has] helpful, compassionate staff and a clean environment,” one student wrote. “I feel safe here and supported.”

Without the center, some teens might go to Planned Parenthood sites, which do not offer comprehensive health care, Mesinger said.

“In general, teens don’t seek medical care unless they have a crisis,” he said.

Only one other school district in the county, the Jefferson High School District, offers a full-service health clinic for students, Mesinger said.

The center’s permanent home will be built during the summer months, and should be completed by August, Martinez said. It will remain on the Sequoia campus. Funds for construction will come from existing facilities bonds.

Trustees hoped the medical center would chip in, but the center faces a $5 million deficit this year, spokesman Dave Hook said. However, the county will seek grant money to help reimburse the district.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read