November 22, 2002

“Salud Sobre Ruedas” Celebration
Ford breaks down Hispanic healthcare transportation barrier

By Berenice Cisneros

The ’91 Mazada van used by La Maestra Family Clinic (LMFC) is on a respirator after logging heavy miles as it shuttles community members of City Heights to-and-from the non-profit health clinic, off to see specialist, or to take ailing patients to a hospital. The van is a vital link between the clinic, the community, and the rest of the medical world and when the van finally breaks down, access to healthcare breaks down. But now, thanks to the Ford Motor Company, this link will not be broken for many years to come.

Juan Carlos Aguirre (far right) of Ford presents a key to La Maestra CEO Zara Marselian, Ofelia Sandoval, and Alexiei Ochola.

Ford has donated a brand new 15-passenger Ford Econoline Van vehicle to the La Maestra Family Clinic as part of its ‘Salud Sobre Ruedas’ (Health on Wheels) program to foster health education and to help Latinos attain much-needed transportation to healthcare clinics.

“Ford is committed to supporting the Hispanic community to ensure a healthy future,” said Francisco Codina, Ford Division General Marketing manager. “Our goal is to eliminate the transportation challenges that many Latinos face in getting to local clinics to receive routine healthcare.”

La Maestra Family Clinic is a not-for-profit, primary care community clinic founded by a teacher and a social worker in July 1991 to serve the poor and the immigrants. The clinic provides healthcare services to the low income and medically underserved and is one of the two clinics in San Diego County that received a new van this week, the other was the Vista Community Clinic.

The two Econoline vans donated in San Diego County is part of national program, which was started in 2000, with the commitment to donate twenty-five Ford Econoline vans to deserving health clinics and organizations serving Hispanics across the country.

According to Zara Marselian, Chief Executive Officer of LMFC, the clinic will now be able to serve an additional 200 patients per month. “We are very committed to keeping our community healthy and are very proud that Ford has recognized our efforts by choosing to work with us to address the needs of our community.”

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