Sharks Foundation to fund major transformation of VMC community clinic

Sharks FoundationThe Sharks may raise the Stanley Cup this June and celebrate San Jose’s first-ever major sports championship, but months earlier, the Sharks Foundation are prepared to raise something else: Hope.

In partnership with the VMC Foundation, the Sharks Foundation has made an unprecedented commitment to transform the pediatric clinic at a VMC health center in east San Jose into a Sharks-infused environment that will promote wellness, healthy eating, and physical activity. The center will be rededicated as the San Jose Sharks Pediatric Clinic at VHC Tully after a nearly $100,000 transformation from the Sharks Foundation. The public unveiling will take place in early 2012.

The funds will be used to overhaul the waiting area and exam rooms with Sharks-centric play and learning areas. Custom made graphics featuring the Sharks players and mascot will also promote important health messages created by VMC staff, encouraging kids to eat vegetables, drink water instead of sugar-based drinks, and get their vaccinations.

We are thrilled to partner with the VMC Foundation on this project. Making sure that all children in this community have access to the healthcare they need is a priority of the Sharks. This project will help make sure that happens. ~ Jeff Cafuir, Sharks Foundation manager

VHC Tully is one of VMC’s largest community clinics, providing primary care to nearly 6,000 low-income children per month, regardless of ability to pay. It is part of a county-wide network of clinics operated by VMC that see nearly 1,000,000 patient visits each year. The clinics provide low-income communities with essential access to regular, preventative healthcare. For children, this is especially important. From immunizations to counseling on healthy eating and weight loss, Valley Health Centers are the foundation of the safety net for children in this community.

Missing check-ups, or avoiding the doctor altogether, is a challenge that health advocates face in many low-income communities. Santa Clara County is no exception. With nearly a third of all low-income children in this community at-risk for obesity related illness, and with the high levels of whooping cough and tuberculosis, among other contagious diseases, access to primary care at VHC Tully is crucial to their long-term health.

VHC Tully Clinic Director Carolyn Scaglione, R.N. hopes that the newly designed center will encourage more parents to bring their kids in for routine check-ups and vaccinations.

“It’s going to make our clinic a lot more exciting for kids and parents,” she said. “We are thrilled that the Sharks Foundation is making this investment with us. We feel very fortunate to have them as partners.”