Virginia Garcia Creates a “Safe Haven” at their Clinics

Hillsboro, Ore. – While the Forest Grove City Council hesitates to declare themselves a Sanctuary city, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Centers is not waiting. Instead, on Friday, February 3rd Virginia Garcia hung signs in their clinics declaring them “Safe Havens”. The signs were hung in all 10 clinics and 6 School-Based Health Centers.

While the “Safe Haven” designation carries no legal authority, it is a message to our patients that we will ensure they and their private information are safe at all of our sites. It also reminds the communities we serve that we support everyone regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or immigration status.

“Virginia Garcia is a local solution to the national problem of access to health care,” said Gil Muñoz, CEO of Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center.  “While Congress debates the future of health care, we will continue to provide great care to those who need it most in our community.  Today that’s one in every 15 people who live in Washington and Yamhill County.  We are here for them, regardless of who they are or where they were born.”

“People are afraid. This is just too important of an issue to sit back and wait for others to take the lead,” said Serena Cruz, Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation Executive Director.

The decision to hang the signs came on the heels of the Health Center Board of Directors December approval of a resolution asking all the cities in which we have clinics – Hillsboro, Cornelius, Beaverton, McMinnville, Tigard, Tualatin, Forest Grove and Newberg – to provide a safe community for all individuals, regardless of ethnicity or immigration status by declaring themselves Sanctuary Cities (at this time only Cornelius and Beaverton are Sanctuary Cities).

Oregon is one of seven Sanctuary States in the nation and has been since 1987. Washington and Yamhill counties passed Sanctuary resolutions in 2014, and the city of Cornelius declared itself a Sanctuary City in November. Virginia Garcia will continue to ask our communities to become Sanctuary Cities as well as working with local groups and organizations that also serve the community.

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Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center provides high quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate primary health care with a special emphasis on those with barriers to receiving health care. Since its founding over 40 years ago, Virginia Garcia has grown from a single clinic in Cornelius into a full service health care home serving Washington and Yamhill Counties. Today, Virginia Garcia employs over 600 people and serves over 42,000 patients at five primary care clinics, five dental clinics, six school-based health centers and a mobile outreach clinic.

Visit www.virginiagarcia.org for more information on the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center.