Early History of San Ysidro Health

In 1969, San Ysidro Health’s Founding Mothers came together with a common mission that would set the tone for health and well being in their community for generations to come.  The mothers, with their entire families, typically had to travel to University Hospital in Hillcrest to receive medical care.  This was often a day-long trek transferring from bus to bus.  To solve this problem, the Founding Mothers formed el Club de Madres to help their children and people in the community find affordable and culturally-appropriate health care in their own neighborhood.

At that time, only one physician served the 7,000 largely Mexican-American population in San Ysidro, a primarily agricultural community.

In early 1969, three of the Founding Mothers found their way to Dr. Ruth Covell, who was then the Assistant to the Dean of University of California San Diego’s (UCSD) School of Medicine in La Jolla, California.  Dr. Covell, a current San Ysidro Health Board Member, was familiar with funding sources for such projects and was drawn to the Founding Mothers vision, passion and conviction.  Despite language differences, Dr. Covell and the Founding Mothers developed a plan of action.  From the beginning, the objective was to deliver medical services as well as provide jobs within the community and inspire young people to seek health careers.

history1LA CASITA

La Casita opened its doors in August of 1969 at 223 Mesa Boulevard in San Ysidro, California.  Approximately 40 patients per day were seen by three volunteer nurses and two physicians, two afternoons per week. The Founding Mothers’ commitment continued.  They volunteered their time and met frequently with children in the community to discuss current and future growth.

The Founding Mothers developed San Ysidro Health’s mission statement. The mission of San Ysidro Health is to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve with access for all.


San Ysidro Health’s Founding Mothers formed el Club de Madres to help their children and people in the community find affordable and culturally-appropriate health care within their own neighborhoods.



We invite you to view our Legacy video which tells you the beautiful story of how a group of concerned mothers in San Ysidro, with limited formal education, organized their efforts and came together with the vision of having the best care available for the most vulnerable in their community — children and seniors and the ill.

Several decades later, the founding mother’s legacy is alive and well within San Ysidro Health’s thriving, expanding network of community clinics, program sites and caring employees.

View Timeline of San Ysidro Health’s Major Milestones

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *