Providing food access and closing the food system loop through Community Supported Agriculture.
Launched in the summer of 2022, Savie Health became the first and only free clinic in Lompoc and the surrounding area, offering no-charge health care to the uninsured population of Santa Barbara County. At the clinic, the physicians volunteer their time to provide primary care and preventative care for the community. The clinic also employs two part-time nurse practitioners.
The clinic was developed because of an identified need for community access to health care. While working as a physician at the Lompoc Valley Medical Center, Dr. Ahmad Nooristani, founder of Savie Health Clinic, saw many uninsured patients and wanted to address the need for access to health care. “Individuals who are undocumented and between the ages of 27 and 49 are currently ineligible for health insurance, and others cannot afford the cost of insurance through Covered California,” said Eryn Shugart, Ph.D., Executive Director at Savie Health.
Before opening, Savie Health partnered with Santa Barbara Promotores Network to survey community members across the Lompoc and Santa Ynez Valley to find out when they would want to visit a clinic and what kinds of services they would like to access. Since opening, they have seen approximately 500 patients. Many of these patients are monolingual Spanish-speaking and work in the agricultural sector. In the coming years, they hope to serve thousands of residents.
Savie Health also worked closely with the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network on a proposal for a prescribed produce program. “It would be great to be able to provide an added benefit at the clinic that would be incredibly supportive in helping patients have a healthy lifestyle, ” said Shugart. This community-led food as medicine solution would improve nutrition security Nutrition Security: Food security refers to the economic and social condition of reliable access to an adequate amount of food for an active, healthy life for all household members. A household is food insecure when food security does not exist., increase food access Food Access: a person’s ability to access food while considering many barriers such as geography, transportation, availability of healthy foods, and affordability., and address health issues holistically in the Lompoc Valley.
Savie Health is open Wednesday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. Learn more about the clinic by visiting SavieHealth.org.