Santa Cruz Community Health (SCCH), a leading nonprofit provider of high-quality, affordable and comprehensive health services to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, opened its new clinic in the San Lorenzo Valley on Monday, Jan. 24, and has patient appointments available.
The new clinic, in the historic Wee Kirk Church located at the corner of Central and Main just down the street from the Ben Lomond post office, will be providing comprehensive primary care services. Patients can call now to schedule appointments at 831-427-3500.
“SLV is a relatively remote region compared to much of Santa Cruz County and it has long been underserved,” said Leslie Conner, CEO. “Our goal is to increase access to high-quality, affordable health care for this area, particularly for low-income people. We are proud and excited to bring health care services to more families and individuals in the San Lorenzo Valley.”
The SLV Health Center will initially operate 30 hours a week, serving patients who live in the SLV area and beyond. SCCH will be staffing the clinic with three exceptional physicians including Chief Medical Officer Casey KirkHart, as well as Drs. Rose Lovell and Leelia Franck supported by a wonderful care team. Moving forward, SCCH’s full menu of services will be offered, including outreach, enrollment, health education, and services offered in partnership with local schools and social service organizations.
The clinic space previously housed Dr. Steven Leib’s family medicine practice. Dr. Leib retired in September after decades of service to patients in the SLV. Dr. Leib and his wife, Vivian, restored the historic church in 2014 which was then added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. Dr. Leib and Vivian, committed to the health of the people of SLV, continue to serve even after retirement, with their generous offering of the use of the Wee Kirk Church by SCCH for the benefit of the community.
To quote Dr. Leib, “The Wee Kirk Church has a new mission — to provide a sanctuary in support of the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of the wonderful folks who live in the San Lorenzo Valley and beyond. Now, under the watchful stewardship of Santa Cruz Community Health, we are confident that the Wee Kirk’s unique place and purpose will be preserved for generations to come.”
Conner said, “PAMF has been a valued partner over the years and is providing both financial and technical support in expanding services to the San Lorenzo Valley. In fact, it was from within the PAMF leadership team that the concept of partnering SCCH with the historic church originated. Thank You!”
The clinic grand opening on Monday included remarks from Conner, Leib, County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, SCCH patient and board member Gloria Nieto, and others. After a ribbon-cutting, there was a ceremonial bell-ringing then attendees were invited to tour the new clinic space. The first patient appointments were scheduled for Monday afternoon.
SCCH also operates the Women’s Health Center in downtown Santa Cruz and the East Cliff Family Health Center in Live Oak. The clinics offer primary care, pediatrics, prenatal care and education, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, chronic disease management, health insurance enrollment, food distribution and more. In addition, SCCH provides Covid testing, vaccines, and prevention education for its patients and community members.
SCCH is in the process of building a new 20,000-square-foot-clinic on Capitola Road in Live Oak. The project, in partnership with Dientes and MidPen Housing, will open in late 2022. MidPen’s 57 units of affordable housing will open in 2023.
About Santa Cruz Community Health
Through the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center, the East Cliff Family Health Center, and the new clinic in Ben Lomond, Santa Cruz Community Health (a Federally Qualified Health Center) provides comprehensive primary care services in English and Spanish to all ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities and sexual orientation, regardless of their ability to pay. Seeded by the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center in 1974, SCCH has maintained a 48-year commitment to its mission: to improve the health of its patients and the community and advocate the feminist goals of social, political, and economic equality. SCCH’s health centers serve nearly 12,000 patients through a dedicated staff of medical providers, nurses, licensed clinical social workers, health educators, and administrative personnel. Learn more at schealthcenters.org, facebook.com/schealthcenters or on Instagram @schealthcenters.