05 Aug Origin Stories: Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic
Amber Betts, Communications Coordinator, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic
Birthed out of an unmet need, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic emerged in Toppenish, Wash., in the late 1970s.
With the mission to provide agricultural workers and their families with the care they were currently not receiving, three respected physicians set out to do just that, but the result was exponentially more than they could’ve ever imagined.
Beginning with one clinic and three providers, we began to add services our patients needed—behavioral health, nutrition services, community service programs, OB care, as well as dental care. Our footprint grew, expanding from the original location in Toppenish to new clinics across eastern Washington. In 1998, we took our first steps in Oregon, with Salud Medical Center in Woodburn. In the years to follow, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic grew to 12 locations across the state, impacting the lives of thousands of adults and children.
When 2020 roared in, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic showed strength with preparation, dedication, and a well-thought out structure to handle a pandemic no one was expecting.
Quickly changing workflows from every corner of the organization, leadership sought to ensure patient, client, and staff safety from a virus that had the world shut down. With protocols to treat those most infectious, while keeping the symptom-free patient safe, staff were quickly allocated to help the cause.
Our team worked day and night to launch video visits, ensuring patients could still see their providers from the safety of their own homes.
CEO Carlos Olivares issued an official statement supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, saying, “It is the heart and soul of Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic to not stand in silence to any act that violates the core values, principles, and beliefs that we hold dear in our organization. We are an organization that was created by those in need for those in need. This is our fight. We will not be silent in our support for the right of all people to live with dignity and be treated with respect.”
Our Mission statement is our daily guide: Together we are dedicated to lead, with the courage to care, the determination to promote personal growth, and the compassion to champion the cause of those who have no voice.