Alameda County – Hayward Fire Station Health Center

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The Fire Station Health Center project is a collaboration between public agencies, health care providers, architects, a local fire department, labor groups and faith-based community organizations.

In the past decade, rates of chronic disease in Alameda County’s underserved communities have risen. People turn to the emergency room because they are not able to see their primary care provider, or they don’t have health insurance. What they need is better access to health care.

The Fire Station Health Center concept was designed to address this need. During the H1N1 epidemic, fire fighters were used to deliver a significant number of vaccinations to low-income communities. This launched the thinking behind using fire services more broadly, to improve access to primary and preventative care. Many people are not aware that approximately 85% of the calls fire fighters receive today are medical.

The Fire Station Health Center will be built on the simple concept that care should be delivered closer to where people where live, at a time that is convenient to them, and from a place they know and trust.

The Hayward Fire Station Health Center will be the first of its kind in Alameda County and the State. It will provide local residents with accessible and affordable health care regardless of coverage. Most importantly, it will provide families and individuals with access to primary care, for single-issue and one-time medical needs, a first for many in the community.

TOLA fellows, along with volunteers provided information about the Fire Station Health Center to residents. They then gathered residents’ input about the development through a one-minute survey and finally collected signatures in support of the development of the health center from residents and local business owners.

Over two months, the fellows went door-to-door to over 11,000 households and connected with over half of the residents. From those conversations, they gathered 1,916 letters of support and visited businesses, congregations, and community based organizations, and managed to collect an additional 122 letters of support.

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The project culminated with a presentation to the City Council. With the help of volunteers, the TOLA fellows urged the City Council to support the building of the health center and presented over 2,000 letters of support from residents and business owners.