Skip To Main Content

New West High Clinic Paving The Way For Enhanced Student Health

students, district leaders, and community leaders cutting the ribbon on the new West High clinic

The collaborative efforts of the Salt Lake City School District, Salt Lake Education Foundation, University of Utah Health, and West High School culminated in the successful grand opening of the West High School Clinic on Wednesday, March 20. The event marked a momentous occasion, showcasing a commitment to prioritizing student well-being and fostering a healthier future.

The West High School Clinic aims to be a beacon of support for the Salt Lake City School District community in addressing barriers to accessing quality healthcare. In collaboration with school administrators and health professionals, the clinic focuses on providing both preventative care and mental health resources. The clinic began seeing student patients on Feb. 26, 2024.

Data from the School-Based Health Alliance show that students who can access care at school-based health centers like the West High School Clinic were 21 times more likely to seek mental health services and less likely to report suicidal ideation. At the West High School Clinic, students will also be able to access preventative healthcare services with parent permission, without having to leave campus and without requiring their parents to miss work. This critical partnership will help reduce health disparities and improve health and academic outcomes for Salt Lake City School District students.

The grand opening ceremony featured remarks from representatives of the collaborating organizations, shedding light on the vision behind the West High School Clinic. Attendees had the opportunity to tour the state-of-the-art facility, interact with healthcare professionals and gain a comprehensive understanding of the range of services offered.

Dr. Jared Wright, Principal, West High School said, “I can’t overstate how beneficial it is for our students to be able to access healthcare in their school and during school. This is especially true for many of our vulnerable students, who only have time during the day to access care. Instead of referring them off campus, we can take care of them at school, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will get this much-needed care.”

Dr. Elizabeth Grant, Superintendent, Salt Lake City School District, stated, "We are grateful to work with generous partners in building an innovative health clinic at West High School. The new clinic will connect students and families with preventative health and mental health resources right at West High School. With three community learning center clinics and the Parkview Vision Clinic already in operation, we are excited to host a new game-changing health clinic on a high school campus. The addition of the West High Clinic helps reduce barriers–such as transportation, cost, and time constraints–that keep many of our students from needed care. Our partnership is sure to benefit students academically, mentally, and physically for many years to come."

“As a team of healthcare practitioners, it is extremely gratifying for us to mark the official opening of University of Utah Health’s West High School Clinic.,” said Christina Thuet, M.D., director of School-Based Health Development in the Department of Pediatrics at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah. “Together we have developed a unique, collaborative care model that integrates physical and mental health in a school-based clinic staffed by primary care physicians and mental health specialists. This model will promote physical and mental wellness, support academic success, and empower students to lead healthy lives. We look forward to the opportunity to serve the community of West High School students.”

James Yapias, Director of the Salt Lake Education Foundation, added, "We are excited to celebrate the opening of the West High School Clinic. This clinic is the result of a partnership that aims to remove barriers to accessing quality healthcare, ensuring every student has the opportunity to excel academically and beyond."

State Senator Luz Escamilla, who sponsored a legislative appropriations request to help create the clinic, said, "I am thrilled to have been part of the establishment of the West High School Clinic, introducing a comprehensive approach to addressing physical, mental and behavioral health needs among students in the Salt Lake City School District. As the first of its kind in the state, this groundbreaking health clinic prioritizes mental and behavioral health, addressing a critical need for our children and youth in Utah. I am excited to witness this initiative becoming a best practice, potentially serving as a model within our state and the rest of the nation." 

As the West High School Clinic begins its operations, the collaborating organizations express their ongoing commitment to ensuring the success and sustainability of this vital community resource. The clinic is poised to become a model for future initiatives aimed at integrating healthcare services within educational institutions.