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June 10, 2009 > Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center to open new clinic

Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center to open new clinic

By Meenu Gupta

Union City Planning Commission approved Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center's (TVHC) application to establish a Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program at 32970 Alvarado-Niles Road in the Dowe Business Park. The clinic will occupy 3,695 sq. ft. in Suite 760. The non-profit has relocated from 2,224 sq. ft. of rented space at 1328 Decoto Road.

The federally-funded program provides clients with nutrition education and referrals to health and social services. There are also educational classes, case management and outsourcing services. Tiburcio Vasquez has served Union City since 1971 with a medical clinic at 33255 Ninth St and other facilities in Fremont, Hayward and San Lorenzo.

WIC will operate Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. serving low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants, and children under five who are at nutritional risk. 13 employees will rotate between facilities with a maximum of eight employees anticipated to be on site at any one time.

Clients will meet staff to determine eligibility for the program and, if qualified, receive vouchers to redeem at retailers for nutritious food. Group meetings will also be held to discuss nutrition and health topics up to six times per week. TVHC-WIC does not sell any food and is not associated with food vendors. Clients may also be eligible for coupons for use at the Union City Farmers Market.

"Wednesdays are the busiest days when there may be up to 15 people," said applicant Cliff Sherwood.

Two conditions are attached to the use of Suite 760. First, city staff requested a limit of 15 group participants to ensure the premises function primarily as an office and to minimize potential impacts on parking. The Planning Commission agreed unanimously to increase the maximum number of parking spaces to 20 as a buffer when there are more clients. Second, the applicant must erect "maximum occupancy" signs in the parking lot for the public's benefit and before the Fire Marshal's inspection.

The Dowe Business Park is essentially an office park, with minimal off-site impacts. The subject site's proposed use as a health service office will not result in noise, traffic congestion, hazardous materials, or outdoor storage problems.

Initially, city staff was concerned about the safety of program participants; the program serves young children. After touring the site, it is clear the WIC office is secure and children are always accompanied by their parents during generally brief visits. The tenant space is also located in a portion of the Dowe Business Park unaffected by heavy truck traffic. There is light vehicle traffic in the parking lot during business hours and the proposed use is not anticipated to compromise safety.

Applicants Cliff Sherwood and Genevieve Maling stated their agreement with the staff report and conditions. The project was unanimously approved (5-0 vote).

"The purpose of the program is to provide educational opportunities for women and children to learn about good, healthy food," said Sherwood.

"Educating the public about the growing problems of obesity and diabetes, we recommend cutting down juice and soda. Breastfeeding is encouraged. We also provide prenatal classes. We have registered dietitians to help those with diabetes. We guide those who are overweight to healthy eating habits," added Genevieve Maling.

Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center - WIC Program
32970 Alvarado Niles Road, Ste. 760, Union City
(510) 471 5913

General information:
(510) 471 5880

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