I am so excited to share that our first health center in the Imperial Valley has opened! Finally opening our doors is a tremendous victory for the women and families in this region. Not to mention, it is a huge advancement in our mission: to provide the community with the reproductive health care they want and need.
Our health center provides birth control, STD testing and treatment, and lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings. We will also provide abortion care, which is a small but important part of what we do. That means the women in this region will no longer have to travel over 100 miles or 2 hours to access these vital services. This is a victory for all.
This accomplishment has been a long time coming. For over 30 years our affiliate has been responsible for serving the Imperial County but has not had the opportunity to provide any services. In 2009, we began community outreach and health education in the community. Since then, we have reached more than 20,000 women, men and families, and we have built strong, important ties in the region.
While working in the community for nearly six years, we realized the need for health care services in the region was huge and growing. Imperial County has the fourth highest teen birth rate in the state. And it also provides only one primary care physician per 4,537 residents in comparison to the state average of one physician per 1,294 residents. It’s abundantly clear that the need is great.
We knew we needed to do more…
So we carefully planned and built a beautiful, state-of-the-art health center in El Centro, which was ready to open in April. After weeks of delays and blocks by some city officials, we finally completed the process necessary to see patients. On May 7 we welcomed our first patients into the health center, and on June 4 we finally received our Department of Health Services certificate, which allows us to open full hours and services.
“This is such great news for the community!”
“Thank you, Planned Parenthood.”
“It’s finally opening? That’s great!”
“I’m from the Imperial Valley, and I am so happy that Planned Parenthood is finally out there!”
“So happy to hear this. There is such a great need that will finally be met!”
There is no doubt that we will help to fulfill a need in the community. We are proud and honored to be offering high quality, affordable health care to those that need it most. So, thank you Imperial Valley for having us.
We are also thankful for our generous donors whose support made this health center possible and the many employees who worked day and night to build the center and overcome the hurdles that stood in our way. And I am humbled by the dedication of our staff in the Imperial Valley who are committed to providing confidential and nonjudgmental care to the patients despite continued opposition. To all of these people, and to all of our supporters, we thank you.