June 3, 2019

Santa Ana Health Clinic Provides Alternative Treatments and Preventive Care to the Uninsured

When Gloria Huerta first walked into the weight-management clinic at the UCI Family Health Center in Santa Ana about six months ago, she was struggling with diabetes, depression and knee pain. The 57-year-old homemaker, who does not have health insurance, said her doctor told her that unless she made a few lifestyle changes, she would need to take insulin for the rest of her life.

“I did not want to take insulin,” Huerta said. “I wanted to avoid it at all costs.”

So, she signed up for a weight-management class and started acupuncture for her left knee at the federally qualified health center, which in addition to traditional medicine offers preventive programs and alternative treatments.

Huerta is benefiting from a growing nationwide movement to broaden access to integrative medicine, particularly to underserved communities where chronic health conditions such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are pervasive.

Huerta gets primary care and mental health services through this federally funded community clinic, which caters to the underserved. But now, she and others who lack health insurance have access to an entire suite of alternative care options and preventive health programs, which are generally reserved for the well-heeled.

Read more about the Samueli Foundation’s efforts to make integrative medicine more accessible in Orange County here.