We are excited to announce Spirit of the Barrio, Family Health Centers of San Diego’s iconic and beloved bimonthly fundraising luncheon, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016!

This quintessentially San Diegan experience is a grassroots event that features homemade tamales, professional networking time and the joining together of colleagues for an informative, entertaining discussion of the community’s most relevant topics. Today, the Spirit of the Barrio luncheon serves as an important tie to the history of Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD).

The list of past Spirit of the Barrio guest speakers is as varied as it is impressive and includes professional athletes, cons and world-famous writers. 2015 was a banner year for the fundraiser and saw some of the highest numbers of attendees in recent history. The year closed out on a high note with Sandy Lehmkuhler of the Warrior Foundation in a moving tribute to our military community and veterans in November. The event also featured Craig Meace, a veteran who used and benefited from FHCSD’s comprehensive health care services.

The luncheon has always featured tamales in honor of Laura Rodriguez,  founder of what would become FHCSD, who started the Chicano Free Clinic in 1970 as a place where locals could access affordable, high-quality health care. In order to raise money for the new clinic, Laura began selling tamales in 1986 at what would become the very first Spirit of the Barrio fundraising luncheon. Thirty years, 22 primary care clinics, six dental offices and four behavioral health centers later, FHCSD continues to rely on Laura’s vision of making quality health care accessible to everyone.

“I’ve dedicated my life to Barrio Logan,” Laura once said. “Improving the health of my neighbors in this community has been my primary concern. I’ve never had much of a formal education, but I’ve always had a desire to see the people in my community given good medical care. Making tamales while talking about the health center’s needs put me in contact with hundreds of folks who helped build our center. I’m 82 years old now, but I’ll keep making tamales and asking for help until our clinic is completely built.”

The 30th anniversary celebrations will continue to honor these traditions!


Join us this Friday, March 20, 2015 from 11:30am – 1:00pm for our first Spirit of the Barrio of 2016.
The event will feature a panel of regional leaders addressing the nation’s looming physician shortage crisis.

The panel includes:

  • Kevin Barnett, DrPH, MCP, Senior Investigator at the Public Health Institute
  • Chris Gordon, MD, Director of the FHCSD Family Medicine Residency Training Program
  • Megan Hamreus, DO, Chief of Family Medicine at Scripps Mercy Hospital
  • Najwan Al Ani, MD, FHCSD resident physician
  • Ariel Wesler, 10News anchor, will serve as moderator.

The luncheon will take place at Logan Heights Family Health Center (1809 National Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113). It is open to the public and costs $25/per person.  Attendees are encouraged to bring a children’s book to donate to FHCSD’s pediatric services, and everyone will receive a complimentary raffle ticket to enter a chance to win fabulous prizes.  The luncheon will be live tweeted and guests can join the conversation by using the hashtags #SaveOurDocs and #SOTBDocs.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit our Spirit of the Barrio page.