The Mabuhay Health Center (MHC) is a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) student-run free community health clinic targeting underserved Filipino American residents of San Francisco’s South of Market (SOMA) District. MHC started in 2009 through the efforts of founder Alvin Teodoro, MD; and a committee of community members, undergraduate students from Bay Area universities, and health professional students from UCSF Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Nursing. Furthermore, MHC holds partnerships with the Bayanihan Community Center (BCC) and Bessie Carmichael School/Filipino Education Center K-8 (BCE). MHC Day was proclaimed on December 5th, 2009 by the City of San Francisco and is celebrated by the SOMA community each year.
Every second Saturday of the month at BCC, MHC provides heath coaching, health education to youth, health screening, history and physicals, medication therapy management, behavioral health services, and referrals to SOMA residents. The clinic also fosters an environment where preceptors, students, community members, and patients can teach and learn from each other about providing culturally sensitive, accessible, and high-quality health care.
Previously, with the generous sponsorship of the Gilead Foundation, MHC has provided Hepatitis B and HIV screenings as well as Hepatitis B vaccinations for our patients. Currently, we have reached over 500 patients, been awarded Top 40 under 40 2010 Readers Choice Award by 7x7 Magazine, and established strong partnerships across San Francisco districts and in San Mateo County. In 2011, MHC further expanded its services to SOMA’s youth by collaborating with Bessie Carmichael School/Filipino Education Center K-8. These services include workshops and health events with a special emphasis on health education. Additionally, MHC links patients to valuable services and resources around San Francisco.
MHC Through a Lens
Since an overwhelming majority of MHC’s patients are elderly Filipinos, cultural sensitivity entails navigating around hiya (a sense of embarrassment particular to Filipino cultures) and having volunteers on-site who are fluent in Filipino dialects (to facilitate health education and to encourage conversations – rather than monologues and misunderstandings – about personal health). We also tailor the content of health education workshops for youth such that our presentations make sense within the contexts of Filipino American culture and the South of Market community.