SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— Downtown San Jose residents now have convenient access to medical care services at the newly-opened Gardner Downtown Health Center, located at 725 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose. Today, State, County and City officials, and the community celebrated the grand opening.
“Often, the health of a community is determined by its access to healthy food, medical services and recreational outlets,” said President George Shirakawa, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, who has shepherded the effort to bring health care services to his district in Downtown San Jose, as well as the opening of a new farmer’s market nearby. “Step-by-step, we are creating the foundation to help residents of our communities to thrive.”
The Downtown San Jose community has been without access to quality medical services since San Jose Medical Center closed in 2004. Construction of the County’s permanent state-of-the-art clinic will be completed in 2015. While the new health clinic is being built, the County is contracting with community partner Gardner Family Health Network to operate the temporary health center in the Mediplex Building, which is part of the old San Jose Medical Center property purchased by the County in 2010.
“Gardner’s history is rooted in local people advocating for the health care needs of their community and working in partnership with local government and nonprofits to create meaningful change," said Reymundo C. Espinoza, Chief Executive Officer of Gardner Family Health Network. “We are proud to be a part of this partnership with the County which began with the Coalition for a Downtown Hospital and is embraced by so many individuals and organizations.”
By contracting with Gardner Family Health Network, the County’s goal is to meet the immediate need for health care services in the community, until the new and permanent Downtown San Jose clinic opens. The temporary health center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The location has plenty of parking and is easily accessible through public transportation such as VTA bus lines 22, 23 and 64.
“Gardner is pleased to provide comprehensive primary health care services to Downtown San Jose residents,” said Esther Duran, Chair of the Gardner Family Health Network Board of Directors. “The Gardner Downtown Health Center is a County-community partnership that will be a tremendous benefit to the health of local residents.”
The permanent 60,000-square-foot clinic will be built on the Southeast corner of the old San Jose Medical Center site and funded through the use of $50 million from 2008’s Measure A, which was designated for construction of health facilities in the downtown area. The County will take existing plans for Valley Health Center (VHC) Milpitas and adapt them for the new clinic.
“As a major metropolitan area, San Jose is in need of a permanent location for downtown residents to get basic health care services, and Santa Clara County has stepped up to facilitate filling that need,” said Supervisor Liz Kniss, Chair of the Board’s Health and Hospital Committee. “Our goal is to meet the immediate health care needs with the temporary clinic, and provide more extensive services, such as a pharmacy and radiology, with the new, larger clinic, in the long term.”
The County is approaching the site with a long-term plan for future expansion of health services in the downtown area. It is anticipated that the new state-of-the-art clinic will include services such as those provided by Gardner Family Health Network, Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System Urgent Care and ancillary support services (pharmacy, phlebotomy and radiology), as well as space for future growth and moving selected services from the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center campus.
“The County is investing the resources to bring health care services to the downtown area,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese. “We join neighbors from the surrounding area in celebration of this important milestone. They now will have access to much-needed medical services close to home.”
The grand opening celebration is a County-community partnership sponsored by the County of Santa Clara, Gardner Family Health Network, Community Health Partnership, Working Partnerships USA, Pacific Coast Farmer’s Market Association, and School of Arts & Culture.
The celebration included remarks from elected officials and community leaders. The event was emceed by President Shirakawa, and included a ribbon cutting ceremony, live music and dance, and a tour of the health center. Other speakers include: California Assemblymember Jim Beall, 24th Assembly District; Supervisor Liz Kniss; Supervisor Dave Cortese; San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo; former California Assemblymember Joe Coto; Reymundo C. Espinoza, Chief Executive Officer of Gardner Family Health Network; Esther Duran, Gardner Family Health Network Board of Directors Chair; Roz Dean, Coalition for a Downtown Hospital; and Bob Brownstein, Working Partnerships USA.
Music and entertainment included an Aztec blessing and dance performance by Calpulli Tonalehqueh, Solo guitarist Jeffrey J. Gambardella of Big Dog and the Bite, and a ballet folklorico performance by Los Lupeños.
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Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Eddie Garcia, Office of Supervisor George Shirakawa, 408-299-5020; Erin Cizan, Gardner Family Health Network, (408) 271-9413