High School Wellness Programs: Keeping Students Safe, Healthy, and Ready to Learn

Mar 14, 2019


Breakout Room #7


The San Francisco Wellness Initiative is a groundbreaking program dedicated to improving the health, well-being and academic success of the city’s 16,000 public high school students at 17 campuses. In safe, confidential settings, experts in adolescent health at onsite Wellness Centers help teens gain the skills they need to cope with complex issues such as stress, trauma, suicide, bullying, depression, self-esteem, drug and alcohol use, sexual health and relationships. Students learn positive, lifelong habits that contribute to their well-being and success, and ultimately, to the health of the communities in which they live. The Wellness Initiative is the only school-based program for adolescent health and wellness of its kind. The Initiative is made possible through a unique partnership between the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF), the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). By leveraging the resources of each agency, student health is addressed from a citywide perspective.”


School Social Workers, Counselors, Administrators


Marcus Christmas, MSW- Wellness Coordinator, School Health Programs SFUSD

Marcus Christmas grew up in Ohio. After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Toledo, Marcus moved to Philadelphia to obtain his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. His study of concentration was clinical social work. Marcus has worked in the field of social work for 18 years. He began his career as a case manager working with homeless children and families. He eventually became a program director where he oversaw programming reuniting foster care children with their parents who struggled with substance use in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Additionally, Marcus served as the deputy director for a comprehensive domestic violence organization. While in that role he successfully collaborated with school districts in educating youth on the dangers of domestic violence. Immediately prior to moving to San Francisco, he worked as an intensive in-home counselor (IIC) in Newark, New Jersey. In this position, he worked with high-risk youth ranging from the ages of 4 years old to 19 years old who faced emotional and behavioral challenges. When Marcus relocated to San Francisco with his partner he began to work with San Francisco Unified School District as a High School Wellness Coordinator where he has had the opportunity to coordinator wellness initiatives at Lowell High School and Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) and John O’Connell High School.

Patrick Mulkern, Wellness Coordinator- SFUSD

Patrick Mulkern received a Masters in Social Welfare and Pupil Personnel Services Credential from UC Berkeley in 2016 and then began working in the San Francisco Unified School District. Currently, Patrick is the Wellness Coordinator at Philip & Sala Burton Academic High School in San Francisco where he develops and implements trauma-sensitive programming and support at an individual, group, and school-wide level. Patrick’s areas of interest include reducing the retraumatization and traumatization that occurs in schools, supporting students experiencing homelessness, and LGBTQ inclusive health education. Patrick also sits on the board of the California Association of School Social Workers (CASSW) as the Student Affairs and PPSC Programs Liaison and gives guest lectures at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare in order to mentor current social work students and grow the vital field of school social work.

  • Kevin R. Gogin, MFT


    School Health Programs, SFUSD


    Kevin Gogin, Director, School Health Programs, founded Support Services for LGBTQ Youth in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) 1990. The first program integrated into a school district addressing the needs of LGBTQ students, it has grown to provide multiple systems of support creating safer learning environments for SFUSD students. Additionally played an integral

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