Native American Health Center Closer to Bringing New Health Center and Affordable Housing to Oakland
Oct 16, 2023
Monique Binkley Smith
Artist rendering of Native American Health Center

NAHC Receives Significant Investment from Sutter Health to Support New Space Planned for Dental Care, Social Services, Cultural Events and 76 Affordable Housing Units

OAKLAND, Calif. – Native American Health Center is another step closer to opening its new health center and affordable housing development in Oakland’s Fruitvale district. The nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center is receiving $1,000,000 over three years from Sutter Health for its capital campaign to build a new 14,000 square foot health center site. The new center at 3050 International Blvd. will augment NAHC’s three existing health and wellness facilities in Oakland and provide much needed space for in-demand health, dental and social services, plus room for cultural events and classes as well as 76 units of affordable housing.

“Sutter Health’s overall goal is to enhance the well-being of our communities. By investing in community-based services like this new building for the Native American Health Center in Oakland, we are able to expand access to care beyond the walls of our facilities. It’s exciting to be part of such a meaningful collaboration which will improve the health of the community for generations,” said David Clark, CEO of Sutter’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.

Weaving Together Cultural Connection, Health Services, and Housing

NAHC has served Native Americans and the under-served community in Oakland’s Fruitvale district for 51 years. Over the past decade NAHC began experiencing increased demand for cultural connection and health services—which only grew during the pandemic.

Responding to these needs, NAHC is partnering with Satellite Affordable Housing Associates to build 20 dental operatories, plus dedicated new space for social services through a 300-person capacity community cultural center on the ground floor of the new 5-story, 32,500 square foot building. Floors two through five will bring 76 units of much-needed affordable housing units to Oakland’s Fruitvale District.

The building project has secured a 99-year land lease from the City of Oakland which owns the land upon which the project is being built. NAHC and SAHA are developing the building according to a Joint Development Agreement and a Lease Disposition and Development Agreement with the city.

Construction will begin in January 2024, and it is anticipated the new center will be serving the community by the summer of 2025.

Helping Meet Demand for Dental Services

Demand for dental care is large and growing. The twenty dental operatories housed by the new dental clinic will improve community access to pediatric and adult dental care by providing an estimated 20,000 additional visits per year. The increased capacity enabled by the expansion of dental services will drastically reduce the time community members will wait for an appointment – which often ranges from 6-9 months in the Oakland area.

Boosting Social Service Capacity

The increased capacity will also be a big boost to NAHC’s efforts to provide access to social services including prevention and early intervention, psychosocial groups, educational workshops, classes, behavioral health therapy groups, traditional Native American healing services, and cultural events aimed to address social determinants of health.

“We all saw during the pandemic that isolation and disconnection were associated with an explosion of mental health issues in society. Our own services tripled during those early months. People also had – and continue to have – major challenges in accessing community resources important to their health and wellbeing. With this new space, we’re very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Sutter Health to significantly increase our capacity to provide helpful social support services for the community,” says Dr. Utaka Springer, chief behavioral health officer at NAHC.

A Growing Relationship

Through initiatives such as these, a strong relationship rooted in the shared belief that “culture is prevention” continues to develop between Sutter Health and NAHC. The seeds of this collaboration were planted in 2021 when Sutter Health awarded NAHC a $25,000 grant in support of its behavioral health services. This initial grant was followed by an additional $25,000 grant in 2022, and a $100,000 grant in 2023, bringing the total investment to $1,150,000 over three years.

“Native American Health Center is truly grateful for the growing collaborative relationship we have with Sutter Health. Through their continued support, Sutter Health has demonstrated their belief in our vision. The important work we strive to do in our community would not be possible without strong partnerships such as this,” said NAHC CEO Natalie Aguilera.

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