Community Clinics Help Reduce Health Disparities
Jun 29, 2023
Liz Madison
Community clinic lobby with Native American artwork and doors leading to medical and dental exam rooms

Community health centers have long been a trusted source of care for at-risk populations. Recent data has also shown they are making an impact toward improving health equity.

One of the latest community health centers to open its doors is in South Sacramento County. The Sacramento Native American Health Center’s (SNAHC) second full-service location will provide medical, mental health, dental, traditional and supportive health services to 12,000 Native and non-Native patients annually.

The services offered at SNAHC Florin Road were informed by SNAHC-led community discussions and surveys with patients, Tribal leaders and partner agencies. It increases access to whole-person, culturally tailored health care in areas of Sacramento County disproportionally impacted by COVID-19 and other health disparities.

SNAHC Florin Road required the construction, renovation and revitalization of a vacant automobile dealership along the Florin and Franklin transit corridors. Construction improved lighting, water drainage and urban greening on the 5.05-acre lot. The center was funded in part through a $3 million community health investment from Sutter Health.

Guests mingle in the lobby of the SNAHC Florin Road Center near the family and youth services space entrance after the ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 28, 2023.

“Partnerships between health care systems and FQHCs like SNAHC are essential in the creation of community-based solutions and have the potential to advance health equity by creating shared vision and values. SNAHC has been serving South Sacramento since we opened in midtown in 2007, but our goal has always been to remove barriers to care by expanding access into the communities we serve where they are. We are honored to be welcomed into South Sacramento and look forward to bringing our unique combination of care, community, and culture to Florin Road,” said Britta Guerrero, CEO of SNAHC.

One of the unique features of the health center is a dedicated Youth and Family Space. It is called Sali To’a’su Kochang, which roughly translates to “the Foundation that Supports the House” in the local Miwok language. The Youth and Family Space was named by Wilton Rancheria Elders and Tribal Council, led by Chairman, Jesus Tarango.

Check out ABC 10’s story on the health center

“SNAHC is extremely invested in the South Sacramento community and its robust grassroots, non-profit, and business organizations. We like to say that SNAHC Florin Road is a place that the community built,” said Dr. Maureen Wimsatt, SNAHC chief program and development officer. “Financial contributions like those from Sutter Health exemplify best practices for private-public partnerships. Sutter Health has been responsive to the needs of our patients and community. They have fully supported the construction of this facility, including its teaching kitchen and community garden.”

Red-haired woman shares remarks at a podium during a ribbon-cutting ceremony

Kelly Brenk, director of external affairs for the Sutter Health Valley Area, shares remarks at a podium during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the SNAHC Florin Road Center on June 28, 2023.

“Meaningful and measurable health improvements can start right inside our communities with the appropriate support,” said Grace I. Davis, chief public affairs officer for Sutter Health. “Our Community Health Needs Assessments offer the greatest insight into where and how we can make a difference. The SNAHC Florin Road location directly responds to the request for more access to primary care and mental health and substance use help in Sacramento County.”

Community needs assessment surveys also helped inform another recent community health project between SNAHC, Sutter Health, Neighborhood Wellness Foundation and Grant Union High School in the Twin Rivers School District. The site, a school-based health center that opened in late spring 2023, offers mental and physical health care services on-campus to students at no cost.


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