For the 55th anniversary of National Hispanic Heritage Month, The Oregon Clinic is proud to highlight the founding of Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, a prominent local health care institution with a mission to provide culturally appropriate care to migrant, seasonal farmworker, and other patients who face barriers to receiving health care.
In 1975, six-year-old Virginia Garcia and her farmworker parents traveled over 2000 miles from their home in Texas to Oregon. During the trip, Virginia cut her foot on a rusty nail and developed a bacterial infection that resulted in blood poisoning. Virginia’s treatment was delayed as she was denied care at a community hospital due to lack of health insurance. Eventually, she was treated at St. Vincent Hospital. However, the hospital did not provide aftercare instructions in Spanish to her parents on how and when to administer antibiotics. Sadly, Virginia passed away due to her infection on June 17th, 1975.
Once news spread about Virginia’s death, the local Latino community and members of Centro Cultural of Washington County, a Latino cultural center in Cornelius, united to form a makeshift clinic in a three-car garage to serve patients with cultural backgrounds similar to Virginia’s. The community established partnerships with nearby hospitals and officially launched the Virginia Garcia Memorial Hospital on July 3rd, 1975.
Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center’s founding story is one which underscores the power of a community who comes together. They now serve over 52,000 patients annually and have expanded to 17 locations across Oregon. The Oregon Clinic is proud to partner with Virginia Garcia Memorial as a sponsor of their annual fundraising events.