By Amelia Lucero
ChapCare, originally known as Community Health Alliance of Pasadena, first opened its doors to the community in January of 1998 with its first health center on 1855 N. Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena. The organization was established with the combined efforts of more than 50 founders who understood the dire need of accessible health care services in the Northwest part of Pasadena at that time. Some of the leading figures who came together to advocate for the medically underserved included Kaiser Permanente, Black Males Form, Huntington Hospital, City of Pasadena, City of Pasadena Public Health Department, PUSD, Pacific Clinics and Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley.
The objective was to bring more primary medical care services to the heavily impacted, low-economic area that was identified to have a health professional shortage with a ratio of 1 provider per 21,000 residents.
ChapCare CEO Margaret B. Martinez, MPH, who has been with the organization for 19 years, said that due to the lack of local providers, many were forced into urgent care, resulting in high medical expenses that may have been avoided if the individual would have had access to a general health clinic beforehand to receive possible preventative care.
In an effort to put an end to this cycle, ChapCare brought forth a ready health care facility to serve the community with accessible providers that were trained in regular medical services. Shortly after, in 2001, the clinic expanded its services to dental, and mental health services a few years after that.
In 2007, the community clinic proved itself to be a leader in the health care industry by becoming one of the first health centers in Los Angeles County to implement electronic health records.
ChapCare decided to expand its services to other areas with large low income populations by opening several more health centers throughout the San Gabriel Valley, including in the cities on Pasadena, Monrovia, El Monte, and South El Monte. Now with a total of 8 health centers, ChapCare has been able to truly make an impact in the way health care is carried out in the SGV.
ChapCare will be celebrating its 20 year anniversary on April 21, 2018 at its Lincoln location. The keynotes speakers include Assemblymember Chris Holden and Dr. Nathan Lewis, M.D., a ChapCare Founding Board Member. NBC 4 Investigative Reporter, Lolita Lopez, will serve as Master of Ceremony for the event. The organization hopes many of its original founders will join the event to see the growth of the seed they first planted together 20 years ago.