Greater Columbia ACH (GCACH) and SWACH are supporting a wellness clinic proposed by students from Heritage University enrolled in the Physician Assistants (PA) program. The PA Students identified a need for medical and behavioral health services tat the Yakama Nation Tribal School and developed a program budget after speaking with their advisor, Dr. Linda Dale, and the Tribal School principal, Adam Strom. The Tribal School provides education to nearly 140 students, grades 8-12, and does not have a school nurse on site.
GCACH approached SWACH after hearing a presentation by the PA students at heritage university in February who proposed the program as part of their capstone project. While the students were asking for only $10,000, they had not considered the cost of renovating the space at the school, so GCACH reached out to SWACH knowing we shared a common interest in supporting the Yakama Nation.
The funding will be used to renovate an office space inside the school, and to purchase supplies and medical equipment that the PA students need to provide services. The PAs will be overseen by a full-time licensed medical provider at all times to ensure the safety of the patients and students. Their hop is that the Wellness Clinic can eventually serve as a clinical rotation site for other PA students and offer behavioral health services as well. They also see the potential of offering access to basic healthcare services to the Toppenish community as a whole. The project is an exciting opportunity to expand clinical access to underserseved populations and establish partnerships between tribal nations and ACHs.