Collaborating to Strengthen the Future of CHCs

The California Primary Care Association was first conceived in September 1993, when a group of federally-funded community health centers came together with common concerns related to emerging state and federal health reforms. In particular, traditional safety-net providers recognized the urgent need to form a viable, statewide organization that could work to secure the position of community-based providers through the transition to Medi-Cal managed care.

The mission of the association, as established at that time, was:

To promote, advocate, and facilitate equal access to quality health care for individuals and families in local and surrounding California communities through organized primary care clinics and clinic networks which strive to empower individuals and families served; seek to maintain cost-effective, affordable services; recognize cultural diversity and, where appropriate, implement services to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of the population; and organize collectively to strengthen alliances, articulate and address community needs, and maximize networking opportunities.

The federal Bureau of Primary Health Care and the James Irvine Foundation each gave North East Medical Services $30,000 in funding, a portion of which was contributed to fund initial costs and consultation services related to CPCA. In June 1994, the CPCA was established as a statewide membership organization, and bylaws and articles of incorporation were adopted.

CPCA membership was open to all community-based, community-oriented providers, as well as individuals and organizations committed to the principles of community-oriented care. The broadest possible representation was meant to insure that CPCA's positions would receive serious consideration in state and federal decisions regarding policy implementation and allocation of resources. In early 1995, CPCA membership included 57 clinics (34 of which were Federally Qualified Health Centers) representing an even larger number of clinic sites. An additional four CPCA members were regional clinic associations.

In April 1995, CPCA executive committee members met to establish a more permanent structure, including electing a Board of Directors and Board officers, hiring staff, and finding office space in Sacramento.

CPCA’s First Executive Committee

  • President – Sophie Wong, Executive Director of North East Medical Services in San Francisco
  • Vice President – Donzella Lee, VP of Watts Health Foundation in Los Angeles
  • Secretary – Adan Juarez, Executive Director of the Sacramento Valley Rural Health Project
  • Treasurer – Harry Foster, Executive Director of Portervill Family Health Center in Porterville
  • Speaker – Jane Garcia, Executive Director of La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland
  • Vice-Speaker – Art Forbes, Director of Inland Empire Community Health Center in Bloomington
  • Members at Large – Leland Meyerzove, Consumer at Curtis Jones/Robert Ross Community Health Center in San Francisco; and Moises Estrada, North County Helath Services in San Marcos