It was a busy day like usual at Marin Community Clinics’ Campus Clinic in San Rafael. But unlike most days, helium balloons lined the hallways and tables were set in the courtyard with floral centerpieces. Clinic Director Sarah King made an announcement that the Puerto Rican fare from Sol Food (a local institution and staff favorite) had just arrived – and that it was about to go fast. Within a minute, a hurried but smiling crew of doctors, nurses, medical assistants, and staff gathered outside to briefly enjoy some much-needed sun, mingle with one another, and grab a quick bite in between appointments.
The occasion? April 1st marked the 10th anniversary of MCC’s Campus Clinic at 3260 Kerner Blvd. For those that have been there since the beginning, and for others that know what the Campus Clinic means to San Rafael’s Canal Area community now – it’s reason to celebrate!
The Campus Clinic’s Presence
Well established within the local community, the Campus Clinic is the place where people know they can go to receive excellent healthcare and get answers. It’s also the place where no one is turned away – regardless of a patient’s financial situation, cultural background, or immigration status. Back in 2001, things were different. The Clinic was just getting started as a much smaller operation. MCC occupied only half the building at that time, sharing the space with the County of Marin.
“When we first started here, this entire Clinic had about 10 people or less in it, and we primarily offered OB services,” explained Pippa Van der Wal, Lead OB, RN, who has been with the Campus Clinic since the beginning. “It’s changed massively. We’re now the community’s home base for behavioral healthcare, medical care, psychological care, nutrition, and we offer classes and so much more!”
It’s not just the amount of comprehensive services, staff, and building space that have grown significantly over the years. The team’s bond with each other and the community runs deep, bolstered by a shared purpose and mission. As OB Program Manager and CNM Erinn Lance put it, “Today we’re celebrating not only the care that we give – but also our amazing patients. We’re so fortunate to serve a really wonderful community.” The feeling is mutual, as the San Rafael community has relied heavily on the Campus Clinic, and more so than ever over the past year. But the team remains positive and humbled from their recent experience. The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have strengthened their relationship and impact with their community and reaffirmed their mission. They talk about it with a sense of pride.
“This last year has definitely made the inequalities and the issues of the community much more apparent,” said Diego Navarro Rosas, RN, “and being right at the center of the Canal Area, our role here in the community has only expanded. I’m here for the community and the population we serve. We’re here to help anybody and everybody.”
That sentiment of sincere appreciation for the San Rafael community and equitable healthcare is regularly echoed throughout the entire team, year round, regardless of role. They don’t intend to back down. And although there wasn’t much time to celebrate the important milestone on April 1st (records needed to be processed, emails needed attending to, and appointments were kept), one thing is abundantly clear about the Campus Clinic 10 years in: the patients and the community come first.
Marin Community Clinics’ mission: To promote health and wellness through excellent, compassionate care for all.
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