January 3, 2023
Nonprofit Community Health Center Celebrates Achievements Including New CEO, Clinic Expansions & Continued Community Care
LOS ANGELES – (January 3, 2023) – Venice Family Clinic, a nonprofit community health center serving 45,000 people in need from the Santa Monica Mountains through the South Bay, is celebrating a year of growth and service marked by the introduction of a new CEO, the expansion of its programs, locations and services and the continued delivery of high-quality care to its community.
Venice Family Clinic begins the new year with Dr. Mitesh Popat as its new CEO. Dr. Popat, who is the former CEO of Marin Community Clinics, brings a wealth of experience to this role and is a highly respected public health expert and health care technology advisor. He succeeds Elizabeth Benson Forer, who led Venice Family Clinic with distinction for 28 years and retired at the end of December.
In November, Venice Family Clinic celebrated the first anniversary of its merger with South Bay Family Health Care. The merger increased the annual number of people it serves from 27,000 to 45,000 and expanded its reach through Los Angeles’ South Bay with the addition of five clinic sites in Redondo Beach, Gardena, Inglewood and Carson.
As the Clinic continued to expand its services across Los Angeles and the South Bay post-merger, it introduced the Community Connection initiative, an innovative program designed to provide enhanced support for families from the moment they are expecting a child through the first three years of the child’s life. It expanded its SUMMIT program and harm reduction approach to patients in the South Bay, ensuring that more individuals with substance use disorder have access to the support and resources they need to manage their health.
Venice Family Clinic continued to grow its pioneering street medicine program – launching its Street Medicine Curriculum (downloadable version linked here), a detailed training guide designed to inspire and educate the next generation of homeless health care providers. It also added another mobile clinic to provide care to families and individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their homes, and became the provider of on-site medical care to residents in Torrance’s Tiny Homes Village.
The Clinic began screening patients for food insecurity at primary care visits, which revealed that 48% of Clinic patients struggle to put food on the table. To address this food insecurity in its own backyard and across Los Angeles, Venice Family Clinic continued to provide community members with nutritious food and health resources. It held over 100 food distribution events serving nearly 1,250 people per week and gave out more than one million pounds of food.
During this holiday season’s food distribution events, the Clinic also gave out over 1,600 bags filled with toys, books, toothbrushes and more to its pediatric patients.
Venice Family Clinic also continued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2022, hosting more than 250 COVID vaccine clinics over the past year and passing the mark for 45,000 vaccines delivered since the pandemic began, with a focus on Latinx and other communities that have experienced the highest infection rates and lowest vaccination rates.
In addition to continuing to provide and expand upon its programs and services, the Clinic embarked upon capital improvements to better serve patients: First, by beginning modernization of its flagship site in Venice on Rose Avenue, and then by making significant capital improvements to its Inglewood Health Center at 1091 S. La Brea Ave. The Clinic also purchased a new building in Inglewood that will soon serve as the organization’s 18th site, housing its Children First Early Head Start program and serving as the physical hub of the new Community Connection initiative.
The Clinic continued to serve as a leading advocate for the health of its communities and patients throughout 2022. In addition to conducting multiple visits and ongoing correspondence with legislators and representatives at the state and federal level, Clinic staff met with local representatives to ensure support for harm reduction approaches and techniques in Los Angeles. It successfully advocated for Assembly Bill 32, ensuring that patients with Medi-Cal can get care via telehealth regardless of access to video; Senate Bill 966, which helps sustain continuity of care for patients; and the amendment of Senate Bill 1014 to help fund community health centers including Venice Family Clinic. It also called for the expansion of Medi-Cal services to all Californians regardless of immigration status, and CalFresh benefits for everyone over 55 – both key pieces of Governor Newsom’s 2022-23 state budget.
About Venice Family Clinic
Venice Family Clinic is a nonprofit community health center that is a leader in providing comprehensive, high-quality primary health care to more than 45,000 people in need annually, regardless of their income, insurance or immigration status. The Clinic merged with South Bay Family Health Care in late 2021 and serves an area from the Santa Monica Mountains through the South Bay in Los Angeles County. It has 17 sites located in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Inglewood, Culver City, Redondo Beach, Carson, Gardena and Hawthorne, plus two mobile clinics and an expansive street medicine program for people experiencing homelessness. The Clinic’s comprehensive care also includes mental health services, dental care, vision services, substance use treatment, prescription medications, domestic violence counseling, HIV services, healthy food distributions, health education, health insurance enrollment, child development services and more. For more information, please visit VeniceFamilyClinic.org and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.