Caring for the underserved in East LA

How AltaMed, a grassroots health clinic founded in 1969, Hispanic-Latino communities through the coronavirus

AltaMed Health Services traces its roots to the East LA Barrio Free Clinic, a volunteer-run health center opened in 1969 by activists called the Brown Berets. This community-based organization emerged from the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s with the goal of combatting discrimination and a lack of services in the Latino community, including affordable healthcare

In the above video, Zoila D. Escobar, Senior Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer and President of the AltaMed Foundation, shares how the staff and the patients adapted to serving community needs during the coronavirus, including finding new ways of delivering care and what this means to the community's recovery.

With the onset of the coronavirus, California’s stay-at-home order kept patients home, doctors and nurses pivoted to telemedicine, and the center opened outdoor clinics to conduct coronavirus screenings. “If we were going to continue to do the work,” says Escobar, “we needed to learn how to provide care in an environment where people will feel safe.”

Some 50 years after its founding, AltaMed remains true to its mission of providing care to underserved residents of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, most under-insured or uninsured. Now this federally qualified community health center sees some 350,000 patients a year at 52 locations, offering everything from pre-natal care to geriatrics.

Bank of America is supporting AltaMed’s work with a $500,000 donation, part of its $100 million commitment $100 million commitment to help address health and humanitarian challenges brought on by the coronavirus. AltaMed’s work to support Hispanic and Latino communities is one example of the bank’s support of underserved communities who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. Learn more about the bank’s commitment to racial equality and economic opportunity, including its $1.25 billion commitment over five-years.

Originally published 7/13/2020