Board Approves Support for Roots Community Health Center

New Clinic Will Serve the Needs of African American Community in County

Office of Dave Cortese

A new health center focused on the needs of African Americans received $350,000 from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, August 30, 2016, to cover construction and other initial costs of launching the project.

The Board voted unanimously to support the Roots Community Health Center, which will be the first and only primary care facility in the County to specifically address the needs of residents of African ancestry.

The project will be a partnership of the Oakland-based Roots Community Health Center and the Ujima Adult and Family Services in San Jose, which currently provides mental health services to African-Americans.

“The County will continue to support the Roots Community Health Center as it develops into a vital health care service provider for our African-American community,” said Board President Dave Cortese. “This project will improve the overall health of African Americans, and the overall health of the County.”

The health center was a recommendation of the County Public Health

Department’s report, completed in 2015, the “Status of African/African Ancestry Health: Santa Clara County,” a health assessment called for in 2013 by Supervisor Ken Yeager when he was Board President.  The Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet of Silicon Valley partnered with the Public Health Department on the assessment.

“One of my priorities was to address the significant health disparities in our County’s African-American population,” said Supervisor Yeager. “I’m happy that led to the health assessment and now a clinic dedicated to these residents’ unique needs.”

While the health assessment found that disparities between the health status of the African/African Ancestry community and other racial/ethnic groups in the County had decreased in recent years, disparities continued to exist in several areas.  The report revealed a lower life expectancy among this population compared to other racial/ethnic groups, a higher rate of infant deaths and higher rates of cancer, high blood pressure and newly diagnosed HIV cases.

Participants in the study cited that a lack of cultural competence in the healthcare delivery system that contributed to poor experiences and the lack of services to address the cultural practices and experiences of community members.

To address the disproportionately higher rates of illness and premature mortality, the report recommended the establishment of an Afro-centric health clinic that provides both physical and mental health services with an Afro-centric perspective to address client needs in a holistic way.

Roots Health Care Programs honor cultural heritage and tradition, provide unprecedented access to services through community awareness and establish partnerships to offer residents opportunities for education, training and employment.

The health center will be located at Ujima Adult and Family Services, 1898 The Alameda in San Jose.  Ujima has served Santa Clara County’s African/African Ancestry population for over twenty-four years.

For more information, contact the Office of Supervisor Dave Cortese at 408-200-5030 or Supervisor Ken Yeager at 408-299-5040.