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Serena Cruz

Message from the Executive Director Serena Cruz

Each year that passes at Virginia Garcia marks a new set of milestones and achievements worth celebrating. In July of 2015 the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center celebrated our 40th Anniversary.

Despite all the progress from the early vision of our founders, there is a single image still frozen in time. Our clinics exist because of the tragic death of Virginia Garcia. This little girl makes us special. Virginia Garcia, whose tragic death more than forty years ago, mobilized Latino community leaders in Washington County to make sure that no other child would die senselessly like she did. At 6 years old, while making her family’s annual trip of working crops in Texas, California then on to Oregon, dear little Virginia got a cut on her foot. The wound became infected; she died on June 17, 1975 because she didn’t get the medical care she needed. Barely two-weeks after she died we began delivering services to vulnerable members of our community.

From our humble beginnings in a 3-car garage in Cornelius, Oregon, we now operate 18 clinics (medical, dental and school-based) where we serve 47,800 Washington and Yamhill county residents annually. We serve more patients in languages other than English than any other community health care clinic in the state – translating our services into Spanish, Farsi, Swahili and Vietnamese just to name 4 of the 62 languages that our patients speak. We strive to provide our patients a medical home, a place where they know that our 600-plus employees serving them in our clinics are committed to seeing them as people who deserve the best care this community can provide.

Virginia, we will never forget you. We honor your memory in the passion and dedication that we bring to our work, in the dignity and respect we show our patients, and in the skill that we are committed to bringing to the care we provide. We honor your family and share their grief in the anniversary of your death. We recommit ourselves to making sure that no other person in our community will die because they didn’t get access to high-quality, culturally appropriate, primary health care. We will always remember that Virginia’s heart lives on and inspires the work we do every day.

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center