Meet Your Neighbor
Happy Salinas-Santos, nurse practitioner
Nurse practitioner Happy Salinas-Santos, ’04, in the Teen Health Center at Garfield High School.
Garfield High School is celebrated for many benefits to the community including its academic programs, Bulldog sports and jazz band. Less widely known is its role in keeping young people healthy—a benefit of the health center that’s been at Garfield since 1995, and staffed by counselors and nurse practitioners including Seattle University nursing graduate Happy Salinas-Santos, ’04.
You can find Salinas-Santos at Garfield’s Teen Health Center. There, as a nurse practitioner, she provides free health counseling and medical services for 750 Garfield and NOVA students every year, in a program operated by Seattle Children’s Hospital. Salinas-Santos is a warm, welcoming presence.
Salinas-Santos provides free health counseling and medical services for 750 students.
“We treat everything from headaches and wounds to STDs,” she says. “And sometimes we’re the only primary and mental health care these teens receive.”
It could have been much different.
Salinas-Santos began her professional career as a software developer. But after eight years in software, she had what she jokingly calls a “quarter-life crisis” and decided to pursue her dream of medicine. Attracted to Seattle University’s mission of social justice, in 2004 she enrolled in the College of Nursing graduate program, which this year is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
For her, SU was a great choice.
“The College of Nursing did a great job of instilling a sense of service in all its students,” Salinas-Santos says. “We had the privilege to attend an institute of higher education and it’s our responsibility to give back to the people that need help.”
Salinas-Santos is living out her passion, and enjoys working with students every day. “I absolutely love my job,” she says.