Holiday Fund: New health center serves thousands more


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Story by Jason Wurtz, Ravenswood Family Health Center.

On May 5, Ravenswood Family Health Center began seeing low-income patients at our new state-of-the-art medical facility in East Palo Alto. The two-story, 38,300-square-foot center will enable us to nearly double the number of patients we serve to 22,000 each year and provide optometry, mammography and X-ray services for the first time.

Our new optometry service has already made a meaningful impact in the lives of patients such as Genoveva, a single mother working night shifts at a convenience store to support her three children. She recently had a painfully swollen eye and dropped by our new health center for treatment.

Genoveva was able to see Dr. Sonia Menchavez, an optometrist, without an appointment and began treatment right away. Prior to the opening of our new health center, patients often waited four to six months to get eye care through San Mateo County.

Our staff scheduled a checkup for Genoveva because it had been eight years since she had last seen a doctor. At her appointment, Dr. Raymond Perez screened Genoveva for diabetes, which is prevalent among Ravenswood patients.

During a follow up visit, Dr. Perez diagnosed Genoveva with Type 2 diabetes. Health coach Elva Gonzalez stepped in to help Genoveva manage her diabetes medications and make dietary changes that fit with her Mexican culture.

Genoveva is not about to let her diabetes spin out of control. Her children rely on her to earn a living and to cheer them on during their soccer and volleyball games.

Fortunately, she can see her doctor, buy fresh produce at a weekly farmers' market, and pick up her medications all at our new health center. (Collective Roots, a local nonprofit, operates a farmers' market every Wednesday right in front of the clinic's main entrance.)

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputations. If Genoveva had not received eye care at Ravenswood's new facility, she may have gone undiagnosed for years and possibly suffered serious consequences.

Thanks to supporters like you, Ravenswood can help Genoveva stay healthy for her family.

Ravenswood Family Health Center provides comprehensive medical, dental and mental health care services to low-income residents of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Nearly 75 percent of our patients live in poverty, many raising a family of four on $24,000 a year. Ravenswood is on track to serve more than 15,000 patients by Dec. 31.

Go to or email Jason Wurtz at for more information on the Ravenswood Family Health Center, located at 1885 Bay Road in East Palo Alto.

Gifts to the Almanac's Holiday Fund benefit the Ravenswood Family Health Center.

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Like this comment
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Dec 1, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

IMHO, the Ravenswood Family Health Center deserves YOUR support. It serves the greater community of which we are all a part.

"Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver"(2 Cor.9:7)" (from St. Anthony de Padua website in 2011)

I urge all of you to do just that. Willingly. And, the Almanac Holiday Fund matching contributions provides an opportunity to double your contribution.

Ravenswood provides primary medical and preventive health care at a new facility in East Palo Alto. Most of the 17,000 registered patients are low-income and uninsured, and live in the Belle Haven, East Palo Alto, and North Fair Oaks areas.

BUT, it should not be supported by property taxes of homeowners living in the Sequoia Healthcare District! More than 84% of Ravenswood clients reside outside the District.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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