March 16, 2022

CVHS Hopewell School-Based Health Center celebrates grand opening

The CVHS School-Based Health Center celebrated its grand opening at Hopewell High School on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Photo by Ken Newman; Courtesy of John Randolph Foundation

HOPEWELL, VA — Working in collaboration with Hopewell City Public Schools, Central Virginia Health Services announces the opening of a school-based health center (SBHC) at Hopewell High School. The center follows a best practice model to meet the needs of students’ health, overall well-being and academic success through accessible preventative care and treatment located in school. As a comprehensive health clinic providing integrated care, it will offer medical services to students beyond what the school nurse can provide. School staff, students’ families and the larger community also may receive services.

The CVHS School-Based Health Center is staffed by several providers, including (L to R): Ashley Waddell, Behavioral Health Clinician; Stella Ngetich, Family Nurse Practitioner; and, Michael Ngetich, Family Nurse Practitioner. Dr. Melba Bryant, DDS, (not pictured) also will be on staff to provide dental services. Photo by Ken Newman; Courtesy of John Randolph Foundation

The CVHS Hopewell School-Based Health Center is equipped to provide medical care, behavioral health services and dental care. It is staffed by two nurse practitioners, a behavioral health clinician and a dentist. Transportation will be arranged for students at other Hopewell schools to receive care at the center.

Dr. Stephanie Poe, Principal of Hopewell High School, noted the importance of the facility by saying, “It gives students access to health care where they are, in school, and allows parents to not have to miss work for having to take their child to the doctor.”

Paula A. Tomko, Chief Executive Officer of Central Virginia Health Services, further emphasized Dr. Poe’s remark, saying, “The CVHS Hopewell SBHC is designed to be a health care home for the students.”

The CVHS School-Based Health Center at Hopewell High School has an on-site lab where immediate testing can be completed. Photo by Ken Newman; Courtesy of John Randolph Foundation

Solid research underscores these points. According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, school-based health centers are a best practice shown to decrease absenteeism and tardiness; increase attendance; increase GPA over time; raise academic expectations; improve school engagement and school climate; increase the use of primary care; increase access for hard-to-reach populations; decrease inappropriate emergency room use; and, decrease hospitalizations.

After a successful partnership with Central Virginia Health Services and others to pilot a school-based health center at Petersburg High School, Cameron agreed to pursue the creation of a Hopewell center in its February 2021 annual retreat. “As a health legacy foundation that is focused on addressing the social determinants of health, this model, at the intersection of health and education, aligns well with Cameron’s priorities,” explained Cameron President J. Todd Graham.

At the same time, John Randolph Foundation began discussions with the school system to better address the health needs of students and staff. “At John Randolph Foundation we believe that education is the great equalizer. Ensuring children are healthy and ready to learn is one of the most important factors in students’ educational success,” said Lisa H. Sharpe, Executive Director, John Randolph Foundation.

Visitors to the CVHS School-Based Health Center’s March 12 grand opening stop at the refreshment table. The new center provides health services to students and their families, school staff, as well as the general public. Photo courtesy of Central Virginia Health Services

Tomko noted the tremendous community response to creating the center. “Within a year, this collaboration has brought the funding together; we’ve completed the renovations; our clinic doors are now open, and patients are being seen. It’s all very encouraging,” she said.

Out of 133 localities in Virginia, the City of Hopewell ranks 131 in health factors and 129 in health outcomes, according to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2021 County Health Rankings.

Technical assistance as well as grants to renovate three classrooms into a health center were committed by The Cameron Foundation ($156,450) and John Randolph Foundation ($112,750). Central Virginia Health Services raised additional funds to furnish the space with medical and dental equipment as well as to shoulder the operating costs.

Working closely together over the last year to create the new school-based health center, Paula Tomko, Chief Executive Officer of Central Virginia Health Services, and Dr. Stephanie Poe, Principal of Hopewell High School, enjoy the March 12 grand opening in the center’s registration office. Photo by Ken Newman; Courtesy of John Randolph Foundation

Central Virginia Health Services (CVHS) provides safe, accessible, affordable, comprehensive, high quality and culturally sensitive care to the people they serve. CVHS operates 19 community health centers across the state. In addition to school-based health centers in Petersburg and Hopewell, CVHS – Hopewell-Prince George, CVHS – Petersburg, and CVHS – Downtown Petersburg are three locations serving the Tri-Cities area. Providing medical, dental, behavioral health and pharmacy services, CVHS is Virginia’s oldest and largest network of health centers with over 50 years of service. It offers a sliding fee (discount) on all services to patients 200% below the Federal Poverty Level, regardless of insurance status. Visit to find a CVHS location near you.

The Cameron Foundation strives to transform the Tri-Cities and surrounding counties into a healthy, vibrant and economically vital region by strategically leveraging resources for community impact. Founded in 2003, The Cameron Foundation is a private foundation that was formed from the proceeds of the sale of Southside Regional Medical Center by the Hospital Authority of the City of Petersburg. Since the Foundation began grantmaking in 2004, it has awarded more than $100 million to organizations serving residents of this area.

John Randolph Foundation partners with donors and organizations in the Tri-Cities area to build healthy communities and bright futures. Since 1995, the Foundation has invested more than $23 million in the community through grants and endowments and $2.6 million in scholarships. Through the generosity of our donors, JRF currently manages 24 endowments, 78 scholarships and two educator award programs. To learn more, visit or call 804 458 2239.

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