PETALUMA -- The Petaluma Health Center today said it received $500,000 in federal funds and plans to open two new health centers at Petaluma high schools next year.

The funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration is part of $14.3 million in grants awarded this week in conjunction with the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The funds are designed to open 31 health centers at California schools.

Petaluma Health Center said it will team up with Petaluma City Schools to open health centers on the campuses of Casa Grande High School and San Antonio High School. 

“Petaluma Health center is grateful and proud to accept the HRSA grant to open Petaluma’s first-ever school-based health centers on the campuses of Casa Grande and San Antonio high schools, bringing primary health care and related services to underserved students and families,” said PHC chief executive officer Kathie Powell.

School-based health centers provide the same primary health care available in doctors’ offices. Because of their location on a school campus, they’re able to expand preventive services such as health education, nutrition and physical activity, and violence and bullying prevention, according to Petaluma Health Center. California School Health Centers Association is helping with school clinic planning and proposal development.

In Sonoma County, Santa Rosa Health Centers also received federal funding for new school-based health centers. [See "Health centers prepare for impact of insurance reform," Dec. 17.]

Petaluma City Schools Superintendent Steve Bolman said the partnership will make a significant impact on students’ lives.

“It is great to hear that the HRSA School Based Health Center grant that will provide Petaluma Health center facilities on the Casa Grande and San Antonio High School campuses has been funded. These facilities will provide a needed service to our students and community,” he said.