Now in our 10th year serving the poor and uninsured, the Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California will be reaching even more patients with a new 34-foot mobile health clinic. The mobile unit will provide care to communities throughout the Bay Area, and potentially beyond.

“Our mobile clinic marks the next chapter in our organization’s mission,” said John Christian, KM, Board chair of the Order of Malta Clinic. “It will provide our team with a means to reach even more people in need, especially those who are unable to travel to Oakland.”

Clinic staff are working to establish partnerships with local parishes and community organizations to develop scheduling and enroll additional volunteer support. The mobile clinic will be unveiled in June at an Order of Malta event in San Francisco and will begin service in August.

For more information on the mobile health clinic, please contact us 510-587-3000 at info@orderofmaltaclinic.com.

Free Medical Clinic to Launch New Mobile Services

OAKLAND, CA, May 29, 2018 – The Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California is celebrating its 10th anniversary of serving the health care needs of the poor and uninsured. The average span of faith-based medical clinics is just 2 ½ years but the Malta Clinic continues to grow in services, number of patients served and geographic reach.

The Clinic has provided free on-site preventative health services and treatment to more than 30,000 patients since first opening its doors in Oakland in 2008, thanks to the dedication of more than 50 volunteer physicians and nurses, and a small full-time medical staff. The Clinic is dedicated to carrying forward the Order of Malta’s centuries-old mission of “upholding human dignity and caring for people in need.”

“Our Clinic is a critical health care lifeline for thousands of people,” said John Christian, KM, Board chair of the Order of Malta Clinic. “This milestone presents us with an opportunity to recognize the many individuals who have played pivotal roles in the Clinic’s success and will help us raise awareness and resources to provide even more services.” Christian noted that the Clinic is poised to grow its service network beyond Oakland in the coming months, recently purchasing a 34-foot mobile unit which will deliver health care throughout the Bay Area. “Our mobile clinic marks the next chapter in our organization’s mission. It will provide our team with a means to reach even more people in need, especially those who are unable to travel to Oakland,” he added. The mobile clinic will provide care to communities throughout Contra Costa County, and potentially beyond. Clinic staff are working to establish partnerships with local parishes and community organizations to develop scheduling and enroll additional volunteer support. The mobile clinic will be unveiled in June at an Order of Malta event in San Francisco, and will begin service in August.

In addition to the launch of the mobile clinic, a key element of the 10th anniversary will be the Order of Malta Clinic’s annual gala, to be held on October 2 at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. This year, A Knight for Champions: 10th Annual Silver Chalice Awards Dinner will honor Quest Diagnostics Chairman, President and CEO Stephen Rusckowski and Deborah O’Hara Rusckowski, DM, both major supporters of the Order of Malta and the Oakland Clinic. Quest Diagnostics provides laboratory testing to the Clinic at highly discounted rates, while Deborah Rusckowski, a registered critical care nurse and health care advocate, serves as a Delegate for the Order of Malta to the United Nations. The Rusckowskis will journey from New York City for the honor.

“The gala will recognize the Rusckowskis and all of our great volunteers, staff and community supporters whose goodwill and dedication know no bounds,” said Sara Cumbelich, event chair and Clinic Board member. “This event has grown in stature and impact each year, touching many members of our community who have no prior experience with the Order of Malta or our Clinic,” she said. “We want to expand our work and inspire more support, so we can help even more people receive quality health care regardless of ability to pay.”

Cumbelich noted that The Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California has been ahead of the curve on delivery of health care, and plans to stay there by investing in its future. “The Order of Malta was founded in 1048 in Europe, providing protection and medical care for pilgrims en route to Jerusalem. More than a thousand years later, we’re still helping those in difficult situations with their health care needs,” she said.

About the Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California

Founded in 2008, the Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California is a nonprofit medical clinic located in Oakland, California. Led by the Order of Malta, the Clinic provides free on-site preventative health care services and treatment to uninsured and low-income patients. The Clinic has a volunteer staff comprised of more than 50 volunteer physicians and nurses, and has cared for more than 30,000 patients to date.

The Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California provides a vital safety net, help with basic health care needs for those without health insurance. Our “Miracle on 21st Street” has made such a difference for so many. We will regularly share here with you a patient’s story of gratitude.

Shao-Chieh is a 64 year old Chinese American who has lived the American dream. Unfortunately, through a series of unforeseeable events, he has now entered the American health system quagmire.

He was born in Taiwan in the 1950’s, as one of five children in his family. Following graduation from Taiwan University with a degree in mathematics, he fulfilled his two year Taiwanese Army service requirement. Soon afterwards, he successfully matriculated into a prestigious American University and graduation with a Master’s Degree.

Marriage and a successful career followed. Being hardworking and entrepreneurial, he opened his own business which became quite prosperous. He and his wife lived the “good life.” Sadly his wife died about 10 years ago. He lost his ambition and drive to work long hours, 7 days a week. His business suffered and he had to declare bankruptcy.

He lost his health insurance, along with his wife and business. He was hoping to make it to age 65 and receive Medicare. Then he lost his health and became seriously ill. Under normal circumstances he would have gone to a nearby emergency room. However, fearing an enormous bill, he suffered at home alone!

Then a friend mentioned the Malta Clinic. He came here; tests were done and appropriate medication given. He is doing well now, praise God!

Every time I go into the clinic, I’m very impressed with the doctors, the nurses, the people who are there helping out on behalf of the Church with warm smiles, their kindness, to take care of anybody who walks in off the street who needs help.

— Michael C. Barber, S.J., Bishop of Oakland

It was a special day at the Clinic on Friday, April 27, when Fr. Francisco Javier Diaz Diaz, S.J., also known as Dr. Diaz, blessed the following Red Team members soon to depart for Lourdes. Our medical team includes, Dr. Thomas Wallace, KM; Nancy Cecconi, DM, RN; and Dr. Vona Lorenzana. Also going to Lourdes and pictured here is Anne Brussok, DM, who recently started working the front desk and on other Clinic projects. Please pray for everyone going to Lourdes, especially for our dear Malades, that requests for healing be granted and that we all may embrace God’s will.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, Otis R. Taylor, Jr.

Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle

Fred Pons has knobby knuckles and the coarse hands of a jack-of-all-trades handyman.

The El Sobrante resident is a house painter, but when he’s not painting, he does odd jobs like landscaping to make ends meet.

Landscaping is how he got the spider bite this summer.

He was bitten on a Wednesday evening as he cleared wood chips from a yard in Berkeley. His hand and forearm swelled so that he looked like Popeye after scarfing down a can of spinach. He felt as if his hand was under a heating lamp. And he had a fever.

But instead of going to the emergency room, Pons gambled with his health. He has no health insurance and was afraid he’d struggle to pay any medical bills if he sought emergency help.

So, he waited until Friday morning to get medical help.

That’s when he went to the Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California, a free clinic in Oakland that’s open Monday, Wednesday and Friday for walk-ins, and Tuesday for appointments.

Continue Reading …

 — in California

The National Catholic Register recently featured the Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California on its cover. Read the whole article…

Medical clinics that serve the poor and uninsured typically only survive for a couple of years. The Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California is moving towards 10 years in operation and recently served its 25,000th patient. John Christian, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Clinic, shared how the Clinic was founded and why it is so successful on The Kristine Franklin Show on Immaculate Heart Radio.

John Christian Looks Ahead

Two months ago we launched the newsletter for our beloved Clinic. The inaugural edition was well-received, and has proven to be a valuable communication tool to spread the good news about “the miracle on 21st Street.” In this season of giving thanks for all our blessings, let’s review some of the progress we have made in 2016, and our dreams for an even better 2017.

First, we remain true to our core mission of providing free medical care to the uninsured. We do this four days a week in a modern facility conveniently located on the campus of the Oakland Cathedral, across from Lake Merritt. The setting is “pastoral” in every sense, and in the coming weeks we will welcome our 25,000th patient – it could be your neighbor, a friend’s gardener, your shoe repairman. The working, uninsured poor are all around us, and whether the political winds coming from Washington blow the doors off of the Affordable Care Act, or merely trim back a few thorny branches (yes, I’m mixing metaphors), the demand for the Clinic’s services will remain strong.

More hours – we are fulfilling our pledge of adding hours and breadth of services. The lights are on four days a week, and every square foot is being used for the betterment of our patients.

More medical providers – every month we attract more volunteer medical providers, with additional specializations. Doctors like Tom Wallace, M.D., a retired neurosurgeon (and provisional member of the Order of Malta) who unfailingly gives of his time three days a week. Dr.Wallace serves as a mentor and inspiration to the rest of the medical staff. Doctors like Vona Lorenzana, our medical director, who puts in countless hours as she strives to leverage partnerships in the medical community so that we can offer a greater array of life-saving services while keeping expenses in check. Elsewhere in this newsletter you’ll learn a little about Dr. James Breeden. I could go on, but you get the point. All of us are grateful for these individual heroes among us, and we will profile more of these heroes in future newsletters. On a sad note, we will be saying “goodbye” in the coming months to two stalwarts on our nursing staff, Kathleen Moore and Bert Sebilia, who are retiring (again). Kathleen and Bert have been steady supporters of our organization from the day we first opened our doors. We wish them “happy trails” and all the best.

Greater Community Awareness – We are working hard to develop positive publicity about our faith-based clinic. Three months ago Mayor Libby Schaaf didn’t know we existed. Now she’s slated to visit the Clinic in January. Sara Cumbelich (provisional member) has transformed the Silver Chalice Awards Dinner into a tour de force, a must-go-to event which raises critically needed funds while honoring champions of the clinic, such as Dr. Robert J. Stein, KM, this year’s honoree. Sara and Nancy Cecconi (Dame of Malta and a regular volunteer nurse) have also launched a Malta Clinic Auxiliary to attract greater community awareness and resources to support the Clinic.

Looking Forward: We are confident 2017 will bring greater efficiencies in working with outside vendors. We are recruiting new board members brimming with passion, and hope to advance the plans to expand our physical footprint. We will also provide greater pastoral/spiritual outreach. Did you hear the one about a Dominican, a Jesuit and a social worker hanging around a medical clinic one day? It’s not the beginning of a joke. Stay tuned…exciting days are just around the corner!

Enjoy time with your families in the coming weeks. This time of year is so special. On behalf of our lords, the poor and the sick, thank you for your support.

John P. Christian, KM