SAN FRANCISCO — Since 2009, the Mabuhay Health Center has been working with the underserved Filipino residents in San Francisco, by providing free health services.
Together with the community members, students from the University of California, San Francisco, or UCSF, provide coaching, screenings, medication therapy management, among other things.
And here at the Gene Friend recreation center, current and former MHC officers and staff celebrated the holidays and their organization’s 10th year anniversary.
“I know a lot of our older generation, community members and patients and veterans, a lot of times forego their health care for other reasons. And I think it’s important to be a presence here and to remind them that there are resources available, and that we can make a difference in terms of lowering their blood pressure, lowering their glucose levels, trying to control their health issues,” said Dr. Alvin Teodoro.
MHC operates out of the South of Market or SOMA — which has been home to many Filipino immigrants for decades.
“We do flu shots, we do dental work and oral cancer screenings. We’re providing an emphasis on some of the mental health and behavioral health stigma that exists within our community. And also just improving the basic health services that we provide like blood pressure checks and seeing a doctor, you seeing health professionals,” said Zachary Bides, exec. director.
For many of the MHC staff, they said they find their work rewarding not just because they are able to apply what they learn in class — but that they are actually able to help fellow Filipinos.
“I myself was an immigrant to the United States. So I remember going to clinics like MHC when I first moved here, and so I wanted to volunteer as an agency as a way of paying it forward. And that now I’m in this field and in this profession, and I can give back to the community that also needs help and give back to the underserved,” says Francesca Alcala.
MHC hopes to expand more services and allow more students to participate as the program grows.