New providers in school health centers

New Providers Welcome Students to School Health Centers

Students returning to Lincoln County schools found new faces waiting for them and it wasn’t just in the classroom. School Health Centers (SBHCs) in three of the four high schools have new nurse practitioners this year who provide primary care.

SBHCs are a service provided by Lincoln County Health and Human Services. These federally licensed health centers offer physical exams, diagnosis and treatment of minor illnesses, vaccinations, mental health screening, and treatment of minor injuries to area students.

Physical and mental health services are provided by licensed professionals at 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 teenagers before and enjoys treating Newport High School children on Thursdays and Fridays, and Waldport students on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

“They’re my homies,” the nurse practitioner said enthusiastically. “I look forward to students coming in and being a resource for them, whatever questions they might have. I didn’t have the ability to talk to a medical professional at that age, so I think that’s a pretty cool thing,” she added.

Speece holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and nursing from Wayne State University in Detroit and earned a master’s degree 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, MS and Ph.D. She worked in primary care in the Portland area, first as part of a street team providing services to the homeless, then in a clinic.

“I really look forward to working with the students,” Charnley said. “What I really love about this age is that they are just starting to build their own autonomy and healthcare is a perfect place to do that. That’s how they will learn to be proactive about life. -à-vis their health and their bodies and I am delighted to be able to support them in this regard.

Charnley is also excited that students can also benefit from mental health services at SBHCs.

“I think it’s fantastic. I came from a clinic that had integrated primary care and mental health. The fact that we can provide these services under one roof is very special. We can do so much more on their behalf when we are all able to collaborate,” she added.

Jessica Hubbard, program manager for SBHCs, said she was pleased with the team she has put together 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 thrilled that we have these providers at each of the schools for two days a week, in addition to Crystal Pickner, RN, who spends one day a week at each school. Our primary care team is joined by behavioral health care providers and certified physician assistants who are available at each location,” she said.

As federally licensed health centers, SBHCs offer affordable services and can be used by all students in the Lincoln County School District. Having these clinics in schools reduces barriers like cost and transportation that could prevent children from getting the care they need. To learn more about SBHCs and other area health services, visit

Maria J. Book