Cultivating Good Health for All
The World of Tzu Chi | May 12, 2017 by National HQ
Supporting good health for all is our mission, and we serve underprivileged families and communities, helping people get the health care they need for free if they qualify or at a minimal cost. Between 1993 and the start of 2016, we offered medical services to 551,176 individuals. Our services are provided through mobile clinics, at community outreach events, and through our international medical mission.
Our three dental, two vision, one medical, and one prostate cancer screening mobile clinics primarily serve underprivileged families, migrant farm workers, the homeless, uninsured students, and others with barriers to medical care throughout California.
“See to Succeed” Program
Since 2014, we have partnered with local school districts to offer free eye examinations and glasses for school children in underserved communities in Fresno.
- In 2016, we served 573 school children through the program, whose success in school may have been compromised due to undiagnosed vision problems.
- The free glasses our Vision Mobile Clinics provide help put these children on the path to achieving their full potential.
- We currently serve 40 schools per year, prescreen 10,000 children annually, and provide eye exams to 50-60 children per week.
- Our partners in the program include Kaiser Permanente, St. Agnes Medical Center, CalViva, Eye-Q Center, as well as Fresno, Central, Washington, Fowler, and Firebaugh Unified School Districts.
- We are continuously strengthening our partnerships as we pursue the goal of expanding the reach of this program in Southern California and beyond.
Vision Care on Wheels
Our Vision Mobile Clinics serve disadvantaged individuals and families who lack insurance or whose plan does not cover vision care or glasses.
- We have been providing free eye exams and prescription glasses to the underserved and underprivileged in the Greater Los Angeles area since 2014.
- These services are especially vital for the homeless, whose employment opportunities and quality of life can be improved instantly through corrected vision.
- In 2016, we served 93 homeless patients and reached a total of 1,850 patient counts across California.
- Our partners in this program include Los Angeles County District 1 Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and District 2 Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Downtown Women’s Center, CVS Caremark, Martin Luther King Jr. Outpatient Center, Foothill Unity Center, Cathay Bank, San Gabriel Community Foundation, Pacific Clinics, and Chinatown Service Center.
- We are continuously strengthening our partnerships as we pursue the goal of expanding the reach of this program to serve more homeless and underprivileged individuals.
Dentists on Wheels
Our free Dental Mobile Clinics serve the disadvantaged, underserved, and homeless in California. Since there are over 5 million people without health insurance in the state and many plans do not include dental care for adults, these services are vital.
- We have been continuously providing free dental care services to underserved communities in California since 2000. We reached a total of 3,654 service counts across the state in 2016.
- We began providing free dental care services to the homeless in East San Gabriel Valley in 2009, when we started our Winter Shelter Program. We served 106 homeless patients in 2016.
- These free dental care services are invaluable for the homeless, reducing pain, restoring the ability to eat and speak, and helping break the barriers to seeking employment.
- Our partners in this program include Los Angeles County District 1 Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and District 2 Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Martin Luther King Jr. Outpatient Center, Foothill Unity Center, Cathay Bank, San Gabriel Community Foundation, Henry Schein Inc., East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless and local churches.
- We are continuously strengthening our partnerships as we pursue the goal of providing regular dental care services to more homeless individuals.
Zero Cancer on Wheels
Our Zero Cancer Mobile Clinic, which was donated to us by ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, launched in 2016 and provides free prostate cancer screening services for high-risk individuals in California, helping save lives with early cancer detection.
- About 600,920 Americans are expected to die of cancer this year - about 1,650 people per day. This program improves the chances of survival through early detection.
- Since 2016, 239 high-risk men received our prostate cancer screening service, 15 of whom were recommended for follow-up and further diagnosis.
- Our partners in the program are ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, American Cancer Society, and Sun Clinical Laboratory.
- As we strengthen our partnerships with local communities, our goal is to offer other common cancer screening services through the mobile unit, helping to save more lives.
Our medical outreach depends on the dedication of medical professional and logistical volunteers from Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA), without whom none of the free medical, dental, and vision care services we offer would be possible.
- TIMA began offering community medical outreach events in Southern California in 1994, serving those affected by disasters and low-income populations.
- Their ability to provide these events has grown steadily since then, expanding to Central and Northern California in 2003 to serve migrant workers and low-income families.
- TIMA held 118 events in Southern California in 2016, accommodating 3,497 patient visits.
- In 2016, TIMA also held 143 outreach events in Central and Northern California, serving 3,517 patients.
- TIMA also provides free health care services beyond California. In 2016, they held 285 medical outreach events, reaching 23,723 patient counts.
- Our partners in medical outreach include Care Harbor and Molina Healthcare/Molina Medical, Seven Tree Community, Delancey St. Foundation, Mountain View Day Worker Center, and local school districts.
- We will continue to partner with government agencies and various organizations across the USA to promote healthy communities by expanding our medical outreach services.
The reach of TIMA USA’s love and care extends internationally as well, with the provision of free medical services for the underprivileged in developing countries, offered in partnership with local government, doctors, and dentists.
Since it was established in 1996, TIMA USA has provided medical outreach in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Honduras, and Haiti.
Hundreds of patients are served at each international medical outreach, the care provided making a world of difference for those struggling due to poverty in the developing world, and unable to pay the fee to see a doctor or dentist.
Knowing that someone cares about their plight and came to help also offers comfort and relief. We will continuously seek opportunities to offer and expand our international medical outreach.