South Island: Belmont Secondary, Royal Bay Secondary, and Edward Milne Community School

In 2016, three school-based clinics opened with help from the coordinating activities of the Sooke/ West Shore LAT on Vancouver Island, which brought multiple agencies and individuals to the table to hammer out agreements. 

“The three clinics are a huge collaborative effort that takes key partners and hundreds of hours to get off the ground,” said Dr Ellen Anderson, a family physician who co-chairs the Sooke/West Shore LAT. Key partners included Island Health’s Dr. Richard Crow, School District 62’s Superintendent Jim Cambridge, the principals and staff of the three high schools, the region’s public health staff, and, noted Anderson, the youth themselves. 

“The clinics are definitely worth it, but they are not simple and straightforward things to do,” Anderson said. 

Belmont Secondary Wellness Centre
Located in the fast-growing community of Langford, a municipality of Greater Victoria, the new clinic in Belmont Secondary opened in September 2016, a year after the new 1,200 student school was built in a new location. Dr Anderson learned that a nurse-managed Wellness Centre was in the early stages of planning there. 

In partnership with SD62 and Island Health, Anderson and the LAT worked toward adding physician services and took the lead in recruitment, securing equipment, and developing policies and procedures. The LAT also included the students – the people who want and need support – to help plan what the clinic would look like and what services it would offer. A Youth Health Committee (YHC) run by students, attended by the public health nurses and supported by LAT staff, generated ideas and set priorities, creating a Facebook thread for ongoing communication. 

“The space is really comfortable, almost serene,” said Christine Camaso, a Grade 10 Belmont student. “Kids sometimes just hang out there because it feels safe and welcoming.”  

Royal Bay Secondary School Clinic
Located in Colwood in a new 800-student high school, the Royal Bay Clinic was established by Island Sexual Health Society and opened in September 2016. The LAT strongly advocated for a family physician to join the team so youth could access health and mental health services at the Clinic.

A youth health committee meets twice a month with the LAT engagement coordinator at Royal Bay Secondary to discuss clinic services and ways to promote use of the clinic by students, especially young men. Working with Island Sexual Health, the YHC created a youth sexual health ambassador role. If approval is obtained from the schools, the youth ambassador will provide outreach and peer counselling services. More student engagement and health promotion events are being planned​.

The Royal Bay YHC also recently received a $500 grant from the RCMP to create a marketing strategy to destigmatize the use of sexual health services by young male students. 

Edward Milne Community School Clinic 
Located in Sooke and with a catchment area that includes First Nations and rural/remote communities, the LAT worked with the principal of the 700-student Edward Milne Community School to develop a clinic that offers family physician services one half-day a week, with three local physicians sharing the role.

Island Health provides a Medical Office Assistant on clinic days. Plans are for the Sooke Family Resource Society and Island Health’s Discovery Program each to have a part-time staff person on site.

Read about other division-led school-based clinics.