Our History

Over 41 Years of Service to the Community

During a time when our nation was trying to find ways to reduce health disparities in migrant communities and address the growing poverty rate, members of the Tri-Cities region banned together to address the great need for health services in the local community. Three entities, Tri-City Family Planning, the Brown Berets, and Union City Health Committee, came together to establish the first clinic in the area:  the Tiburcio Vasquez Medical Clinic.

What’s in a name?

TVHC’s founders wanted to choose a name that evoked a sense of pride and fortitude in their community, and what better choice than the heroic character who—legend has it—defied authority in order to aid the downtrodden Californios?

The legend of Tiburcio Vasquez dates back to the late gold rush era of the 1800s—a tumultuous time in California. Vasquez was a bold, flamboyant risk-taker who won the hearts of many Spanish-speaking early Californians and Native Americans. Legends among the communities that loved him have painted a portrait of a romantic poet, a caring and giving man who often provided food and medical aid to the needy, and a passionate supporter of human rights. Hollywood has fictionalized Vasquez and captured his life on film many times. In movies, he is known as Zorro.

From Trailers to State-of-the-Art Health Centers

In 1971, the Southern Pacific Railroad company allowed TVHC to move to a small plot of land that the company owned on 9th and C Street in Union City. The space would be rent-free as long as the Center remained non-profit. The Union City Commission donated three modular trailers to house TVHC’s services in the new space.

For 12 years we provided health services to migrant workers and other marginalized groups in the community who otherwise had little or no access to health care until 1983, when we celebrated the grand opening of our first health center facility. TVHC continued to expand and in 2004, we celebrated the opening of our second facility on Mission Street in Hayward. 

As our organization continues to grow, we become increasingly aware of unmet need in surrounding communities. In 2013, we are embarking on a capital campaign to raise funds for a new facility that will serve the unincorporated Ashland and Cherryland regions. The populations in these unincorporated districts have very little access to health care and of the few providers who do accept Medi-Cal coverage, even fewer are able to take on new patients. To learn more about how you can help us provide free and low-cost health care to more people who need it, please visit the Capital Campaign page.