Quick Tips to Keep Your Kiddos Teeth Happy!

Healthy teeth are an important part of a healthy body. Spending a few minutes each day taking care of your teeth keeps your smile beautiful and your body happy. Here are recommendations from our dental and pediatric team to keep you and your children’s dental health in check: 

Keep Those Pearly Whites Shining Bright

  • Clean teeth twice daily with a soft toothbrush
  • Brush for two minutes each time (sing the ABCs in your head three times!)
  • Start flossing once per day as soon as teeth begin to touch
  • Parents should supervise brushing until kids are able to tie their shoes

A word about fluoride:

  • Use fluoride-containing toothpaste for all children with teeth. For children less than three years, use an amount the size of a grain of rice.  For children over three, use an amount the size of a pea!
  • Most of the water in the Spokane area is non-fluoridated; consider a fluoride supplement. Ask your doctor!
  • Have fluoride painted on your teeth as often as recommended by your dentist or doctor

Watch What You Eat – Your Teeth Are Counting On It!

  • Frequent snacking and sugary beverages during the day may increase the risk of dental decay
    • If you plan on snacking on a sugar-containing beverage (soda/juice/sports drink), drink it within a limited time instead of slowly sipping during the day
    • Try to give your mouth a three-hour break between sugary foods/drinks
  • After sugary foods and beverages, rinse your mouth with water or chewing sugarless gum
  • Watch out for: hard candy, gummy candy/vitamins, cough drops, and fruit leathers

Did you know?
Children who visit the dentist before they are four years old are less likely to need dental procedures (crown placement, restorations, tooth removal) compared with children who start seeing the dentist at a later age.

For the really young ones:
The first tooth usually appears around six months of age. Think about scheduling the first dental visit when your child turns one. Start a training cup (sippy cup) at six months.  Plan to ditch all bottles by one year.

Factors that increase the risk of developing dental decay: Bottle use beyond 12 months of age using a sippy cup throughout the day (especially for juice/sugary drinks)Exposure to secondhand smoke using a bottle at bedtime breastfeeding past 12 months if nursing overnight
Want to help spread the word about dental health? Share our posts on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter this month. 

NOW OPEN! John R. Rogers High School Clinic

Healthcare can be complex, especially in today’s busy world. Many provider hours are limited to the school day, and offices may be located far from the school. That means students have to take time away from school and possibly find a ride, making it difficult to get the care they need while maintaining academics.

School-based health centers (SBHC) tackle that problem directly by adding an on campus clinic, making getting the care you need as simple as walking to the other side of the building.

Why school-based health centers?

Essentially, school-based health centers is an extension of your neighborhood health clinic in the school.

Healthy students are better learners. When students don’t feel well, it’s much harder to learn and pay attention in class. Not to mention days where students may be too ill to come to class at all, making it harder to catch up on materials.

School-based health centers aim to tackle this by offering an easy–to-access clinic where students don’t have to take time off to be seen by a provider.

According to data from the School-Based Health Alliance, school-based health centers:

  • Help students do better in school
  • Increase high school graduation rates
  • Decrease school discipline cases

How is a SBHC different from the school nurse’s office?

A SBHC is a fully-licensed primary care facility, providing a range of physical and mental health services, with limited dental services.  SBHC’s and school nurses work closely together, with school nurses able to refer students to the SBHC to resolve student health problems.

What services will CHAS Health at John R. Rogers -based health centeroffer?

This new clinic will be for students and school staff only, and will provide the following services:

• Primary medical care

• Answers to your health questions and concerns

• Treatment of common injuries and illnesses (allergies, rashes, sore throat, etc.)

• Counseling (help with emotional and social issues)

• Sports physicals

• Vaccinations, including flu shots

• Reproductive health services

• and much more

CHAS Health at John R. Rogers High School be staffed by Jeff Hayward, Family Practice Physician Assistant; Kristie Stolgitis, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner; Michelle Timmerman, Behavioral Health Proivder; Kelsey Kienbaum, Medical Assistant.  Johnnie Beans serves as the School Outreach Specialist, and is actively engaged in connecting with the students and staff.

Hours of operation will be Monday – Friday 7:30 am to 4:00 pm with both scheduled appointments and same day walk-in appointments available. 

School-based health centers often are operated as a partnership between the school and a community health organization, such as a community health center, hospital, or local health department. The specific services provided by school-based health centers vary based on community needs and resources as determined through collaborations between the community, the school district and the health care providers.

CHAS Health at John R. Rogers High School is made possible thanks to funding from Kaiser Permanente, in partnership with Spokane Public Schools.

For a more in-depth look at studies on school-based health centers:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3770486/


The time is always right to do what is right

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an annual federal holiday that celebrates a civil rights leader and movement that challenged racial segregation and inequality.  

Dr. King believed that “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these’.”

Respect for human dignity, social responsibility, and patient-centered are all CHAS Health core values that closely align with that statement. In fact, the very concept of the Federally Qualified Health Center was born as part of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

CHAS Health is proud of its origin which is rooted in this movement.

Community Health Centers as a model in the United States were officially established in the 1960s as part of the “War on Poverty” program, with the goal of providing health and social service to underserved and disenfranchised populations.

CHAS Health was founded in 1994 with this goal at the heart of its mission and has continued striving to expand access and improve the quality of care for our patients. 

As we mark another celebration of his life, CHAS Health will be pausing clinical operations for the day (Monday, January 20th). We hope you join us in honoring Dr. King in whatever way you see fit. Folks who live in Spokane are welcome to check out the MLK Unity March & Resource fair.


Healthier Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip


1 (8-ounce) package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts,
drained and chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain of excess liquid
1 1/4 cups mozzarella shredded cheese, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chilies,
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the softened
    cream cheese, yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper,
    red pepper flakes, and onion powder until
    combined. Add the artichoke hearts,
    spinach, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese,
    and green chilies and stir well.
  3. Transfer the dip mixture into a 1 1/2-2
    quart baking dish and sprinkle with the
    Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/4 cup
    of mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until hot and
    bubbly. Serve with chips, crackers, chunks
    of crusty bread, or veggies.

Pretzel Turtles


20 grid pretzels
20 chocolate covered caramel candies
(like Rolos)
20 pecan halves


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on
    a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place
    one chocolate covered caramel candy on
    each pretzel.
  3. Bake for 4 minutes. While the candy is
    warm, press a pecan half onto each candy
    covered pretzel. Cool completely before
    storing in an airtight container.

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup cashew butter
1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Set oven to 350°F
  2. Whisk the egg and sugar together until
    well, blended. Beat in the baking soda and
    cashew butter and then fold in the chips.
  3. I use a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop to scoop out balls of dough. Space them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Flatten the balls of dough just slightly with
    your fingers or a spreading knife.
  5. Bake for about 12-13 minutes. The
    cookies will puff up and just barely begin
    to get golden on the edges. They will look
    soft and a little underdone, but will firm
    up as they cool.
  6. Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the
    pan, then transfer to a rack.

Christmas Wreath Antipasto Skewers


30 wood skewers
30 baby mozzarella balls
30 basil leaves
10–15 cherry tomatoes
10 whole artichoke hearts, halved
20 large green olives, pitted
(you can get flavored if you’d like)
30 large black olive or large kalamata olives
10 cherry peppers, halved
Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish


  1. Line up all your ingredients so you’re
    ready to assemble antipasto skewers.
  2. To each skewer add mozzarella ball and basil leaf. From there mix and match the rest of the ingredients! Hint: have fun with this,
    make each of your skewers a little different!
  3. Get a round serving platter and place
    assembled skewers in the shape of a wreath.
    Depending on the size of your platter you
    may need to do a double layer of skewers.
    Than stick pieces of fresh rosemary in
    random places underneath the skewers to
    make it look like a Christmas wreath.
  4. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
    (Can be made one day ahead of time)

What would you do if you got a cavity and didn’t have dental insurance?

Yesterday we shared about a local service group who created a Dr. Seuss-themed book nook for children at CHAS Maple Street Clinic. In sticking with the Dr. Seuss-theme, consider the following quote: “Only brush the teeth you want to keep.”

Image result for dr seuss only brush the teeth you want to keep"

While that advice seems simple enough, what would you do if you got a cavity and didn’t have dental insurance, like the 7,611 uninsured dental patients CHAS Health serves?

Many local partners have stepped up to help low-income and uninsured patients to access oral health services.

  • Providence and CHAS Health have partnered to bring a Dental Residency program to Spokane, targeted to serve low-income patients.
  • The City of Spokane awarded our organization a grant to help low-income, uninsured City of Spokane residents with their out-of-pocket cost for dental care.
  • The Washington State Legislature awarded capital funding to CHAS Health to open a dental clinic in Spokane Valley, and to expand our existing dental clinic in Clarkston.

Over the past five years, CHAS Health has constructed new dental facilities to add 45 dental chairs throughout the Inland Northwest. Fundraising efforts, including donations and grants, have been essential to achieve this expansion, as the equipment for each dental chair costs $60,000. If you are doing the math, that’s $2,700,000 for 45 dental chairs! And, that price tag doesn’t even include the cost to construct the facilities for those dental chairs.

In 2020, we will need to replace the failing dental equipment at our Denny Murphy Clinic, our main Health Care for the Homeless site, located in downtown Spokane. The equipment at this site has been well-maintained for the past 20 years, but is now at its end of life.

In short, our work is not done. We want to help everyone in our community to keep ALL of their teeth! We look forward to new and continued partnerships to continue improving access to oral health care in 2020 and beyond.

This blog post part of a special CHAS Health series for #GivingTuesday 2019. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide. During the Thanksgiving season, it is easy to get swept up in the fervor of shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, will kick off the giving season and inspire people to collaborate and give back. Follow CHAS Health on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.


“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world” –Dr. Seuss

This Thanksgiving season, we are thankful for the many individuals, organizations and businesses who give back to their community. Here at CHAS Health, we are fortunate to witness the generosity of others who donate their time, talent, and treasure.

Earlier this year, the children’s corner at CHAS Maple Street Clinic got a makeover thanks to Katie Mathews and Junior League of Spokane. Katie reached out to us ask if she could do a project to create a reading nook for children. She went with a Dr. Seuss theme, and Junior League provided wall hangings, book racks, and books!

“In alignment with the mission of the Junior League of Spokane to develop the potential of women and improve the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers, the new member group I was a part of was tasked with creating a reading nook at a community partner/agency of our choosing. With the League’s current focus area of improving childhood literacy in Spokane, we wanted to reach children in a location where they might not normally have access to books.  We especially liked the idea of a reading nook at CHAS because there is a correlation between health and education, and CHAS is committed to serving all families and individuals with dignity and respect, regardless of their situation.  Also, as a Social Worker, I believe it’s important to meet the individual where they are.  By providing a reading nook at the Maple CHAS clinic, not only could the JLS provide a fun, whimsical space where reading can be approachable and entertaining, the child can bring the book home where it can enhance the child’s imagination and help increase their vocabulary.”

-Katie Matthews

Encouraging children to read fits right in at CHAS Health. Our pediatricians participate in Reach Out and Read, a program proven to increase literacy and school readiness for children ages zero to six. During a medical exam, the pediatrician reads an age-appropriate book to the child, encourages the child’s family to spend time reading out loud every day, and the child gets to take their book home.

Amerigroup sponsored over 7,000 Reach Out and Read books to give out to children this year. Thanks to generous partners like Katie Mathews, Junior League of Spokane, and Amerigroup, children and families in our community are being encouraged to read.

In the words of Dr. Seuss, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” Thank you for being the world to our patients!

This blog post part of a special CHAS Health series for #GivingTuesday 2019. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide. During the Thanksgiving season, it is easy to get swept up in the fervor of shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, will kick off the giving season and inspire people to collaborate and give back. Follow CHAS Health on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.


“Such a blessing at a really hard time”

Jumping in a car to go wherever you need go, whenever you need to go there, may be something many of us take for granted.

At CHAS Health, a number of our patients do not have reliable modes of transportation to access their health care appointments. They may not own a car, or if they do, gas may be cost prohibitive. Others rely on bus transportation, but occasionally need a little assistance purchasing a bus pass.

Certain medical diagnosis require more frequent access to care, which means expending more of your budget on transportation costs. For example, in addition to regular primary care visits, a patient diagnosed with cancer significantly increases the number of medical appointments they must make to see their oncologist and other cancer care providers.

Year after year, the Pink Shamrock Foundation has provided transportation assistance for our patients who have breast cancer. CHAS Health pays for bus passes for patients in need of transportation assistance, and gas gift cards paid for by the Pink Shamrock Foundation assist patients who rely on their own transportation to access medical appointments. The gas gift cards are particularly helpful for patient who reside in rural areas and must travel into a city to access cancer treatment.

Our patients are incredibly thankful for this assistance. We were pleased to share with the Pink Shamrock Foundation some of the stories our staff heard from patients who received gas gift cards this year:

Cheryl was so happy when I described the program to her that she started to cry! She said, “I was just sitting here wondering how I was going to get to Spokane.”  She lives out of town and the gas card will help her afford her trips to the cancer specialist.

Mary told me that this was “such a blessing at a really hard time” and that getting to take part in the program without having to do any paperwork “renews my faith in people”.

Lynda told me she is retired and was very grateful, saying: “Every little bit helps.” She is on a fixed income and lives (in her words) “out in the middle of nowhere” and this will help her get to her appointments.

Janet is currently unable to work and is living with her daughter and granddaughter. Her granddaughter drives her to and from appointments and she is thrilled to be able to “pitch in” thanks to the gas gift card. She said they are on a tight budget and that she really appreciates the extra help.

As you can see from these stories, the gas gift cards mean much more than the face value of the cards. This assistance provides people with hope and joy. Thank you to the Pink Shamrock Foundation for impacting the lives of the people who we are honored to serve!

This blog post part of a special CHAS Health series for #GivingTuesday 2019. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide. During the Thanksgiving season, it is easy to get swept up in the fervor of shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, will kick off the giving season and inspire people to collaborate and give back. Follow CHAS Health on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.