During a time when our nation was trying to find ways to reduce health disparities in migrant communities and address the growing poverty rate, members of the Tri-Cities region banned together to address the great need for health services in the local community. Three entities, Tri-City Family Planning, the Brown Berets, and Union City Health Committee, came together to establish the first clinic in the area: the Tiburcio Vasquez Medical Clinic.
TVHC’s founders wanted to choose a name that evoked a sense of pride and fortitude in their community, and what better choice than the heroic character who—legend has it—defied authority in order to aid the downtrodden Californios?
The legend of Tiburcio Vasquez dates back to the late gold rush era of the 1800s—a tumultuous time in California. Vasquez was a bold, flamboyant risk-taker who won the hearts of many Spanish-speaking early Californians and Native Americans. Legends among the communities that loved him have painted a portrait of a romantic poet, a caring and giving man who often provided food and medical aid to the needy, and a passionate supporter of human rights. Hollywood has fictionalized Vasquez and captured his life on film many times. In movies, he is known as Zorro.
In 1971, the Southern Pacific Railroad company allowed TVHC to move to a small plot of land that the company owned on 9th and C Street in Union City. Space would be rent-free as long as the Center remained non-profit. The Union City Commission donated three modular trailers to house TVHC’s services in the new space.
For 12 years we provided health services to migrant workers and other marginalized groups in the community who otherwise had little or no access to health care until 1983 when we celebrated the grand opening of our first health center facility. TVHC continued to expand and in 2004, we celebrated the opening of our second facility on Mission Street in Hayward. February 2013, we opened our Silva Pediatric Clinic, located at 680 W. Tennyson Rd., Hayward, CA.
In 2014, TVHC opened the Ashland Community Clinic, a 20,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility that houses primary medical and dental, mental health, and various supportive services, all under one roof. The Clinic primarily serves patients from Ashland and Cherryland which are unincorporated communities in Central Alameda County. The building is Gold level LEED-certified, ensuring it is a model of energy conservation and sustainability for years to come.
In 2016, TVHC opened an innovative primary care clinic co-located with a Hayward (CA) fire station. The Firehouse Clinic is a joint initiative among TVHC, the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, and the City of Hayward. The first of its kind in California, the Firehouse Clinic was instrumental in Hayward being recognized as an All-American City for 2016. Currently, the clinic provides primary medical care and behavioral health services. We plan to add emergency and preventive dental care to the scope of services.
TVHC recently implemented an innovative texting platform that allows us to engage our patient population in a different manner. We were running into communication issues with our phone-based system. We now can connect with patients in real-time. We built into the system the capability to send appointment reminders and receive messages from patients to confirm appointments and to request rescheduling of appointments.