Outreach programs at Nuestra Clinica Update
May 31, 2009
Sarah King Stern
"Big Sunday” doesn’t even begin to describe the weekend we and our team of volunteers experienced. Our journey with “Big Sunday” began with Patti Callicot. Patti had been a part of the community garden project at Phoenix House in Venice Beach the prior year, and provided us with the introduction to Big Sunday’s founder David Levinson.
When we first met with Carol and Greg from Nuestra Clinica, they had expressed the desire and need for a community outreach program for members of their community in Boyle Heights but the space in the clinic was very limited.
Being that there were vacant offices upstairs from the clinic, we approached the landlords, Todd and Alisa Nathanson. It was a match made in heaven: Todd and Alisa were familiar with “Big Sunday” and had participated in other projects with them. With the collaboration of Real Medicine, Big Sunday and Nuestra Clinica a 1-year lease was signed for the two front rooms above the clinic.
Patti Callicot had a vision for the space and a plan for the “Big Sunday” weekend – and volunteers from FOX Gives, Real Medicine, Taft High School, Marymount High School and Nuestra Clinica all convened upon the clinic to help make Patti’s vision a reality. Everyone had a wonderful time, new friendships were made and new skills learned.
The space was transformed into a tranquil, fun, contemporary “Indian” themed area for all to enjoy. The front room became an area for our yoga, fitness and healthcare outreach workshops, along with reading and art programs for members of the community. The side room was made into a donation room, with clothing organized in a manner that would provide any of its recipients with a sense of dignity.
Our greatest thanks to all that came out to support Real Medicine Foundation’s beginning to a lifetime of memories at Nuestra Clinica! We received many thank you letters and emails from the “Big Sunday” volunteers, expressing their joy in having the opportunity to work as a part of a team to give back to the community.
In July of 2008, Carol Daugherty and Greg Jahangiri opened the Nuestra Clinica for the vastly underserved people of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles. Now, less than a year later, they have over 600 active patients and provide about 100 people per week with general care such as: physicals, vaccinations, std testing and treatments, gynecological and obstetric care among others.
From its inception, the clinic has been built on the principal of providing patient oriented healthcare with a focus on bridging the gap left by many health plans that are often limited in coverage and scope of care. In the same vein, those without coverage are not turned away even if they are unable to pay the low treatment fees ($30). “We hardly ever say no to anyone who cannot pay, we will even take less of a profit just to ensure that our patients get the care they deserve,” says Ms. Daugherty.
This year, Real Medicine Foundation (www.realmedicinefoundation.org) has partnered with Big Sunday (www.bigsunday.org) in recognition and support of Nuestra Clinica’s work. Together, we hope to expand the services offered at the clinic so that its founders, Daugherty and Jahangiri will be able to realize their dream of treating the “whole person” by introducing new community building programs such as computer and job training courses, and alternative healing methods such as yoga stress release, nutrition, and natural approaches to managing diabetes.
With 99% of their patients Spanish speaking only–first generation or new generation immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, and Nicaragua–Nuestra Clinica also hopes to teach English to children and adults as a second language.
Beginning May 2nd and 3rd with the help of Real Medicine and Big Sunday volunteers, the 2000 square foot space, featuring four exam rooms, two offices, one OB education room, a waiting room and a small staff room, will be expanded upstairs to allow two new rooms for these new courses and services.
None of the new work will affect the hours of operation currently run at the clinic: Monday- Friday 9-5:30pm and Saturday 9-1pm. The clinic is located at 3004 Whittier Blvd. LA, CA. 90023 between Soto St. and Lorena Blvd. in Boyle Heights.
For more information or to make an appointment, phone (323) 264-0535