We were honored to recently have Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tour our City Heights Family Health Center on El Cajon Boulevard. As part of the visit, Dr. Cohen toured the residency program and the new El Cerrito Family Counseling Center that will be opening this summer (currently under construction).

During her visit, Dr. Cohen met with FHCSD leadership to discuss numerous topics, including Teaching Health Center Residency funding, COVID vaccines and how the future budget of the CDC could impact health centers like FHCSD.

As part of her nationwide tour, Dr. Cohen’s visit to our clinic stemmed from her interest in FHCSD’s approach to offering comprehensive services to patients, including mental health services. “It’s a really important place for folks to get access to mental health services,” she noted, “they’re doing great work to think about the whole person. Not just the physical health, but the mental health side.” As a previous practitioner in a FQHC, she also expressed that of all the community health centers she’s visited, FHCSD is “the most intentional FQHC” she has ever encountered.

After the visit, Dr. Christopher Gordon, president of FHCSD, explained to the San Diego Union Tribune that mental health is prioritized in the day-to-day care of our patients at more than 90 operating sites across San Diego County. During an initial assessment, each patient answers two questions: whether they’ve had little interest or pleasure in doing things, and whether they’ve been feeling down or depressed. Those who answer in the affirmative are asked to answer nine additional questions and, depending on the results, may be offered an immediate mental health visit.

We look forward to continuing to serve the mental health needs of the community as we prepare to open El Cerrito Family Counseling Center in the summer of 2024!