With a mission to transform lives and a vision to set the standard as a place that provides quality care in a supportive community, One Community Health is succeeding as a leader for health care services in Sacramento.

The clinic originally started in 1989 as the Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services (CARES) in an apartment with one provider and one nurse, but in 2015 it became a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Today, One Community Health provides a full range of services for Sacramento County, including medical and dental care, substance abuse treatment, nutrition education, and mental health services.

“We provide all these services in a single location, so we are able to reach out and pull more people in who have a need,” One Community Health CEO Christy Ward said. “It’s really wonderful when you hear some of these individuals’ stories and hear about the impact that even small things have on them as an individual.”

Ward joined the clinic in May 2016 after leaving her position as the Chief Executive Officer at the Multnomah County Health Department in her long-time home of Portland, Oregon. Although she had never been to Sacramento, she recognized what One Community Health was providing for the community.

“At all levels of the organization, in the clinic as well as the board of directors, everyone wants to give back to the community and they want to grow and provide services for more people,” Ward said.

For One Community Health, that sometimes means going beyond addressing just the medical concerns.

“We want to achieve the best health possible for each individual person,” Ward said. “We’re thinking of the social determinants of health, like food and security, housing, safety, and those types of things. We try to take each person and identify their barriers and help to sort through those as well as we’re able to.”

Ward believes the best way to help the community is to make sure people know One Community Health is there for them.

“We will always see somebody regardless of ability to pay. We’re here and we’re always going to be here,” Ward said.

One Community Health has seen many recent expansions to help them achieve their goal of always being there for as many people as possible. In December, they opened a new clinic in the Arden Arcade area. On Jan. 22, they expanded their clinic in Midtown from 17 medical exam rooms to 42 rooms and three dental chairs to nine chairs. They also added a full-time podiatrist, a full-time chiropractor, and women’s health experts and have a goal for 2018 to hire more staff and providers and add acupuncture and other specialties.

Ward also serves on the Board of Directors for HCRI, Inc./Joshua’s House.