La Clínica del Pueblo was founded in 1983 in response to the emergent health needs of the Central American immigrant population displaced by civil wars. For many of these refugees, getting access to any type of medical care was nearly impossible due the cultural and language barriers that come with immigrating to another country. La Clínica was started in the midst of this need in a one-room clinic, one night per week, by a volunteer doctor.
Despite its brief hours of operation during its initial days, La Clínica was always full of patients who would brave the cold of winter and the heat of summer because this was the only place where they felt comfortable and where they were treated with respect and dignity. La Clínica was incorporated as a separate non-profit 501(c)(3) agency in 1995 and was awarded Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) status in 2007 by the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.
Today, La Clínica provides over 8,000 men, women, youth and children with access to over 35,000 linguistically and culturally appropriate health and education services including: primary care, mental health and substance abuse services, HIV/AIDS care, interpreter services, and health education and outreach. All direct service staff are bilingual, and most are first-generation Latino immigrants, dedicated to a mission “to build a healthy Latino community through culturally appropriate health services, focusing on those most in need.”
A Study in Community: Case Study Charts La Clínica’s Growth
With the tireless efforts of Marcia Bernbaum, PhD, a deeper appreciation for this health center made of the people, for the people, is now at hand. In December Bernbaum completed a comprehensive case study of La Clínica's long and colorful history. The study measures the impacts of La Clínica's approach and services on the community, identifies the center's strengths and challenges, and discusses lessons gleaned from 25 years of service. The study also focuses on pinpointing La Clínica's "essence," or those characteristics that compose its unique identity.
The staff members of La Clínica are proud of their roots and excited for their future. They invite you to read about their incredible story.