HerrmannBlog

Open Door at Forty

A Letter From Herrmann Spetzler, CEO

“When Cheyenne and I moved to the north coast in 1977, we thought it was a good place to spend a few years. I knew I was joining an organization scraping for every dollar and pinching every penny, but the committed people who began Humboldt Open Door Clinic in 1971 were convincing: there wasn’t enough access to health care on the north coast and we could do something to change that.

Forty years later, we still have that original clinic, and we’ve added nine more clinic sites. Under the banner of Open Door Community Health Centers, we serve folks from Garberville to Gasquet. Last year at least one out of every four residents of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties was served by Open Door. To visit one of our clinics is to see every segment of the population living onthe north coastof California.

“There still isn’t enough access to health care on the north coast, and Open Door can still do more to change that. We may be celebrating 40 years of service, but we are not resting.”

We have matured and our patients have become representative of all who live in our community. We have expanded services to be more responsive and comprehensive in our care. Our clinics offer primary medical, dental and behavioral health care for urgent, acute, routine and chronic needs. We have specialists in a variety of fields. We offer services for women’s health, teen health, prenatal care and deliveries, specialized services to prevent or treat HIV/AIDS and, through the use of technology we can connect our patients to specialists anywhere in the world. We focus on disease prevention and health improvement through nutrition counseling, smoking cessation, a community garden, chronic disease management and other wellness activities.

While so much has changed, so much has remained the same. Open Door is bigger, better and provides much more health care than we ever imagined, yet I still work for an organization that scrapes for every dollar and pinches every penny. There still isn’t enough access to health care on the north coast, and Open Door can still do more to change that. We may be celebrating 40 years of service, but we are not resting. “