Clinica Sierra Vista was formed in the small Kern County farming community of Weedpatch in 1971 during the early days of the Community Health Center Movement. A group of idealists and visionaries set out to provide quality health care to migrant farmworkers who harvested the lush agricultural fields in the southern San Joaquin Valley but struggled to afford even basic needs like food, shelter and health care. We’re honored to continue to serve the men and women of the fields, and we have also expanded our footprint throughout the Central Valley, offering care and support to the inner city, the rural and isolated, those of low, moderate and fixed incomes and families from an array of cultural backgrounds who speak several languages. We don’t inquire about immigration status because we simply don’t care. If you come to us, we will treat you like any other patient.
We attribute our growth and success to the simple guiding principle established in our early days that has never, ever changed: Health care is a right for all, not a privilege for some. We often hear from patients that their first visit to a doctor was at a Clinica Sierra Vista community health center. That’s a privilege and a sacred responsibility; we are humbled by their trust.
Clinica Sierra Vista is a comprehensive healthcare organization, serving the primary medical, dental and behavioral health needs of about 200,000 people in Kern, Fresno and Inyo counties. With the continued support of federal, state and local governments, we have been able to reach out to thousands of new patients, offering comprehensive programs tailored to the needs of those we serve over a vast geographical region in the heartland of California.
We know that health and wellness cannot be narrowly defined, that it encompasses a person’s entire life. That’s why we are leaders in delivering services to address problems like homelessness, substance use, teen pregnancy and other struggles that can lead to despair and compromise health. With great pride, we can also say that we are recognized as a social justice organization, advocating tirelessly on behalf of our patients in a range of areas, not just healthcare. We believe that the vulnerable need a voice, and we have tried to add ours to the chorus since our founding.
We plan to continue to work to build a system of care that will assure the survival of a locally governed and controlled healthcare agency. Our success far exceeds the original projections and expectations of the funding agencies and founders of a small, rural health program in Weedpatch. That success has largely been due to the dedication of this organization’s board and staff, who have demonstrated a deep understanding of rural healthcare delivery, community relationships and an intimate, personal understanding of patient needs.