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United Health Centers

Why work for us

United Health Centers of San Joaquin Valley is a private non-profit organization, established from a grass root movement by people trying to improve access to healthcare in their rural communities in California’s Central Valley. Stretching 450 miles from Shasta to Kern County, California’s Central valley encompasses the Sacramento Valley in the North and the San Joaquin Valley in the South. Of its 5 million residents, 1 in 5 residents are unemployed, and on average 12.8% of the population works in agriculture related industries. Located in the agricultural city of Parlier, CA, United Health Centers of San Joaquin Valley is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) whose main purpose is to be “committed to the lifetime wellness of our communities by providing accessible, comprehensive quality health care to everyone, including farm worker families and the underserved, with compassion and respect, regardless of ability to pay.” Beginning in 1971, United Health Centers of the San Joaquin Valley (UHC), a private non-profit organization, was established from a grass root movement by people trying to improve access to healthcare in their rural communities. They focused on ways to address the high infant morbidity and mortality rates, lack of medical and dental services, and the paucity of accessibility and affordability to health care. With clinics located in Parlier, Orange Cove, Huron, Earlimart, Mendota, Kerman, Sanger and Corcoran, United Health Centers is staffed by 400 health professionals consisting of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse, pharmacists, lab and x-ray technicians, dentist, dental hygienists, nutritionists, and certified ancillary personnel, the majority of whom are bilingual. The Central Valleys fertile soils have made it a world recognized center for agriculture; on 1% of the nations farm land, the Central Valley produces 25% of the nations table food. 9 of the valleys 18 counties have 20% or more of the working population involved in the agriculture industry. The valleys population is set to increase to almost 12 million people by 2040. This growth is fueled by the influx of immigrants into the valley. 58% of the Central Valleys growth is due to domestic and international migrant. In the San Joaquin Valley approximately 26% of migrants were foreign born with 67% being from Mexico. 39.8% of the Central Valley residents identified as Latino in the 2000 census. The towns of Huron, Parlier, Mendota, San Joaquin, Orange Cove, Arvin, Firebaugh, McFarland, Woodlake, and Sanger, all San Joaquin Valley cities, have above 80% Latino population. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the "San Joaquin Valley’s high incidence of poverty among immigrants, generally low levels of education, and limited English language skills present challenges for the region’s social service providers, particularly in health care and education." One problem that this focus on agriculture causes in the Central Valley, especially the San Joaquin valley is the migratory patterns of its people both into and out of the valley. According to 2000 census data, the San Joaquin Valley saw a large in flux of roughly 20,000 immigrants with a high school diploma or less, and an out flux of approximately 3,000 persons with a college degree. All of the counties in the San Joaquin Valley have a larger percentage of children in poverty with Fresno and Tulare Counties having 32% and 33% of the child population in poverty respectively. 80% of the children of immigrant parents in the valley live in homes that income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level. All of the San Joaquin Valleys counties have less than the national average of 235 physicians per 100,000 residents, with the lowest county being Madera County with 73 physicians/100,000 patients. Kern, Fresno, Tulare, and Merced counties were included in the American Lung Associations list of top 10 most ozone polluted counties in the US in 2007. This is related to residents in the Valley have the 3rd highest asthma prevalence in the nation. The migratory nature of its residents complicates the utilization and access to regular healthcare in the valley.

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