By Mark Tsuchiya, Marketing and Development Director, Aviva Health
In 1992, Aviva Health—then known as the Open Door Clinic—first began providing free basic health services to underserved children and adults living in Douglas County in a small storefront located in downtown Roseburg. In those early years, the organization served about 1,000 children and adults annually. As demand for health services in the area continued to grow so did the organization, achieving Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) status in 1999 and later becoming the very first Douglas County health clinic to achieve Oregon Health Authority Tier 5 status.
Today, Aviva Health operates 10 clinic sites across Douglas County and two mobile medical units caring for nearly 15,000 unduplicated Douglas County patients annually. The largest FQHC in Douglas County, the health center comprises several service lines, including family medicine, pediatrics, women’s and reproductive health, rheumatology, infectious disease, integrated behavioral health, and dentistry and continues to provide high-quality, dignified, comprehensive care to people regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.
Ever nimble, Aviva Health actively identifies health needs in the community and addresses them, including patient access and provider shortages. In response to those needs, Aviva Health, in partnership with sole community hospital CHI Mercy Medical Center, launched Roseburg Family Medicine Residency Program in 2020. The first of its kind in Douglas County, the residency program brings eight family medicine physicians to the area annually where they train for three years. At full capacity, 24 physician residents will rotate through Aviva Health and other health care locations across Douglas County learning the intricacies of providing clinical services in a rural environment. Studies show many of those residents will put down roots and continue to practice within 100 miles of where they completed their residency, fortifying the area’s physician base and improving access to care for the people of Douglas County.
To ensure the residency has adequate space for its physicians in training and the capacity for related patient visits, Aviva Health began construction of a new, two-story, 31,000-sq.-ft. clinic on its main Roseburg campus that will add 34 new exam rooms, dedicated space for resident didactic training, a teaching kitchen, and three large conference spaces. Slated to open in spring 2022, the new facility sits adjacent to Aviva Health’s existing Roseburg Clinic and will open a new door to Hope, Health and Life for the people of Douglas County.
The start of the building project and launch of the residency program occurred in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those large-scale initiatives did not preclude Aviva Health’s participation in the local response to COVID-19. From the very beginning, the organization was heavily involved in the county’s response to the pandemic. Many of Aviva Health’s executive leaders, including the CEO himself, served as members of the Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team. Several other Aviva Health staff have collaborated regularly with Douglas Public Health Network and CHI Mercy Medical Center on those institutions’ efforts to address COVID-19 locally. It was Aviva Health that planned, organized and implemented the county’s very first mass COVID-19 vaccination event at Douglas County Fairgrounds, administering shots to nearly 700 Douglas County citizens. The organization has since vaccinated thousands of local residents and opened a dedicated vaccination clinic adjacent to its main Roseburg clinic location where individuals continue to receive the vaccination.
Aviva Health also initiated telehealth services during Gov. Kate Brown’s first stay-at-home order to protect its patients and staff while still ensuring the community had access to the vital health care services it provides. Additionally, with generous support from Douglas County Commissioners, in early spring Aviva Health acquired two mobile medical units. Those vehicles have been used to get COVID-19 testing and vaccines to underserved areas of the county, ensuring equitable access to the vaccination. The mobile medical units will eventually operate in a more traditional sense, offering primary care to individuals in the far corners of the region who otherwise would go without.