by Chanel Ward
Colorado is a prominent venue for promoting health and wellness activities. One of Denver’s premiere community health centers, Clínica Tepeyac aligns its responsibilities to its surrounding communities. On August 5th, the Clínica held their 6th annual ¡Adelante! 5K and Community Fair encouraging neighborhood participation.
Clínica Tepeyac has served as a culturally competent health care and preventative health service for the medically underserved, as stated on their websites’ mission statement, since 1995 when they first opened their doors.
“We started ¡Adelante! 6 years ago, to be a community building event for the neighborhoods Globeville, Elyria and Swansea, these are neighborhoods that have been largely overlooked, especially when it comes to these kind of activities that promote health and wellness,” explained Jim García, CEO of Clínica Tepeyac. “As a health organization we thought it was important to really reach out to the broader community and lead by example.”
¡Adelante! is the only 5K in the neighborhood and growing in numbers among its community members and business participants, including long time and new partners to Clínica.
Event Manager for Eventful Productions, Renee Ortíz has helped to coordinate the 5K for the last three years and adds the importance of this event. “It’s important to bring community together and also just provide a low-cost, healthy activity for families and for community members to come together and get their bodies moving,” said Ortíz.
Clínica first started as a non-profit organization in 1994 and has since flourished from its small house in northwest Denver to its now 5,000 sq., ft. facility that offers 11 exam rooms, one procedure room and a preventative dental option, located on 5075 Lincoln St. in Denver.
“More than anything we want to get the word out to the community, especially as the community continues to evolve we want to make sure that people know that Clínica Tepeyac is open to the entire community.”
Jim García, CEO, Clínica Tepeyac
García has been involved with the clinic for over 25 years, first starting as a committee member of Social Concerns for Our Lady of Guadalupe Church’s Parish Council; where after being approached by the pastor at the time to open a clinic in the community for a more affordable health and mental care facility. García volunteered to take the lead on the project and has been dedicated to their mission and core values of dignity, integrity and quality, since its inception.
“We started in a very small, very humble beginning in a little renovated house across the street from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church,” said García, as he detailed the blood and sweat that went into creating the grassroots movement the community now knows as a routine care health plan that brings cultural competency to an underserved community who want better and healthier lives.
Clínica accepts Medicaid, Medicare and other insurances, however it’s the larger cliental of uninsured patients that really speaks to their mission.
“Our mission from the very beginning was to provide health care services and mental health services to people that don’t have any other options,” said García, while adding that, “about 80 percent of the people that are served, are people that don’t have access to Medicaid or Medicare or their private insurance and so that’s part of our mission; is to make sure we’re a community that meets that need.”
García expressed his gratitude to the grants and the community’s contributions that allow for the program to grow and reach the most patients possible. The ongoing effort to expand has gone beyond just growth, the staff and environment itself represents a more culturally responsive staff that is bilingual, respectful and present.
Clínica is looking to expand their pediatric and Medicaid/Medicare population, while also looking into a new location on 48th Ave. and Race St. in the same Elyria neighborhood. The land is a six-acre parcel and will cost between $10-$12 million, but the cost will serve as a fully operative facility and offer the services they are currently perusing for a growing future.
Clínica is always taking part in community events and functions and in addition to their ¡Adelante! 5K, they are always working with their board members, half of which are patients and consumers.
The race took place outside of the Stapleton Recreation Center, but it was after the race where the community could really get to know one another and the businesses in their area. Healthy snacks and refreshments were provided; Dj Javi B emceed the event and the community came together and learned about healthier options.
Lenny Archuleta was the first to finish the race in just over 18 minutes; he works with KUHS Radio and Shoes and Brews, a running shoe store and brewery in Longmont, CO.
Other supporters included the Denver Police Department District One, who have organized a course on bike safety in the “Bicycle Village” at the event for the past three years. Also, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s presented their Genetics of Taste Lab.
García concluded, “We want our changes to reflect the community. More than anything we want to get the word out to the community, especially as the community continues to evolve, we want to make sure that people know that Clínica Tepeyac is open to the entire community. Our focus will continue to be on the Latino community, but we also want anyone to know that they can come to us, whether they are Latino or not.”
García also mentioned the importance of living up to their original mission statement, even as the community changes.
To donate or to learn more about Clínica Tepeyac and the services they provide, visit their website at clinicatepeyac.org or call 303-458-5302. Clínica Tepeyac is located at 5075 Lincoln St., Denver, CO 80216.
Chanel Ward, Journalist, The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.
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