Unique feature: Pursuing Gold Level LEED Certification
La Maestra Community Health Centers, located in the heart of City Heights in central San Diego, California, began giving care in a residential family home more than 20 years ago. The old health center was composed of 14 aged and refurbished residential units that spread over a city block, totaling 15,000 square feet of space. The residential homes, trailers, and driveways all evolved into different spaces over time, depending on the community's needs (e.g. pharmacy trailer turned food pantry, driveways becoming play areas or storage). In order to increase access to the community, provide additional patient care services, improve space, and increase patient volume, the need for a new facility with services under one roof became apparent.
La Maestra is committed to the health and well-being of the individual; caregivers and staff identify patient's needs and guide them toward treatment, education, training, and self-sufficiency. This commitment became a framework for designing a new facility, which opened in July 2010. The planning process, which began 8 years ago, involved staff, Board members, patients and community residents to determine best practices from multiple sources including visiting other clinics and attending green conferences and seminars. La Maestra was already socially responsible, so why not be environmentally responsible? The charge to "bring green into well-being" became the project's guiding principle.
The new 36,440 sq. ft building, located across the street from the old location, features high-performance insulated glass, energy efficient HVAC equipment, roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, aluminum sunshades, sustainably sourced, recycled and regionally extracted or manufactured materials, low or no Volatile Organic Compounds within finish materials (paints, adhesives, caulks, sealants, fabrics), and energy efficient lighting and plenty of natural daylight. La Maestra's environmentally responsible design choices will help the clinic achieve Gold Level LEED certification.
Contributing to the patients’ overall well-being are a variety of support and social services integrated into La Maestra’s “Circle of Care” and housed in the new facility along with the medical services, including laboratory, ultrasound, and full pharmacy services, health education and outreach, a food pantry, transportation, telemedicine for specialty medicine, job training and placement, housing assistance, financial literacy, a microcredit program for women, and eligibility assistance in applying for Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, and other health and social service programs. Many of La Maestra’s staff members are immigrants and refugees from the populations served, and collectively speak over 20 different languages and dialects. They know first-hand the barriers that patients must overcome in order to access affordable quality health care.
The clinic expansion has already provided a significant amount of new jobs for the community, and patient volume has doubled after just 5 months in the new facility.