A Time for Thanks and Giving

Would you hold a cocktail party for a 6 year old? Well we did. Our little free-clinic-that-could turned 6 last week and we celebrated with a fundraiser at Scoma’s, the landmark seafood restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf. Volunteers, providers, and even patients were present and all paid tribute to Clinic by the Bay. Makes a founding doctor proud!

One and Only

Honestly, this free medical clinic in San Francisco has done the impossible. For its entire life, it has stayed true to its mission of providing free, high quality medical care to the working uninsured in two California counties. It has saved many lives and kept its clients healthy and productive. And, it has done this ceaselessly, and entirely on the backs of volunteers and private donations without federal funding. To boot, all of this has taken place during the largest recession in a generation and with biggest changes in U.S. healthcare since Medicare. Three cheers to grit, guts and gumption.

One and the Same

A particularly poignant moment for me at the Scoma’s event was when the elegant Cheryl Scoma, matriarch of the establishment, said to us: “As much as our restaurant has, your Clinic has also become an institution in this city.” An awfully sweet thought. Is it really true?
The definition of an institution is “a significant practice, relationship, or organization in a society or culture, or something or someone firmly associated with a place or thing.”  When I think of institutions, I think of Yale (or maybe Harvard), of the Guggenheim museum or MOMA, of churches or the U.S. Congress. Are we really like them?
Well, we certainly are “significant” and highly impactful on people’s health and lives. We are reliable and always there. We live and breathe a real and socially valuable mission. And we do it with a culture of caring, nurturing and education that is second to none. By George, I really think we’ve done it! We are a newly minted pillar of our society. I give thanks for being able to give in such a meaningful way, and you can, too!