United Health Centers (UHC) opened its newest location at 645 S. Minnewawa Ave. in Fresno on Thursday. Photo by Ben Hensley
Written by Ben Hensley
United Health Centers (UHC) opened its newest health center at 645 S. Minnewawa Ave. in Fresno on Thursday, in front of several hundred people, three performing groups from nearby Sunnyside High School, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and Councilmember Luis Chavez.
“This has been a long time coming,” said UHC CEO Colleen Curtis, adding that the planning for the center on Minnewawa and Kings Canyon Road started in 2018 — prior to Fresno having any UHC centers in the city. “It takes everyone to make this happen.”
The opening of the new center marks the tenth center to open since the beginning of 2020, with UHC opening six locations during 2020 and another three locations in 2021.
Currently there are 26 health care centers in the UHC network, with centers spanning across Fresno, Clovis and Madera, as well as more rural areas such as Mendota, Dinuba and Raisin City.
“Two years ago, we had not one single location in the city of Fresno,” said Justin Preas, UHC Deputy CEO. “As of today we have six.”
Curtis went on to say that during the beginning years of UHC in the early 1970s, many referred to it as the “free clinic,” saying that a stigma of low quality was tagged to the health care network.
Curtis assured those in attendance that is not the case.
“Right here in Southeast Fresno, we not only have a top facility that can compete with any facility in the nation,” said Curtis, “we have quality health care with board certified providers — medical providers that I would guarantee you would match anywhere in the nation.”
Another three clinic openings are planned by the end of the year.
“What they [UHC] do is transformational,” said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer. “It’s transformational for a neighborhood, but it’s [also] transformational in the lives of people.”
Dyer said providing opportunity and access were the primary reasons the center was able to be completed.
The facility at Minnewawa will provide medical and dental services, as well as optometry services, labs and x-rays, and women’s health services.
“Our vision at UHC is to be a one-stop shop,” said Curtis.