Parents Form Community Inside Medical Home through CenteringParenting® Program 

“It’s really an incredible model, you’re drawing out of the parent and empowering them to harness what they already know and key into that maternal or parental instinct,” said Dr. Michelle Gallas, Pediatrician at CommUnityCare Health Centers. “So, the idea is that families form a community inside of the medical home.” 

Parenthood has its ups and downs, especially for first-time mothers. New mothers often face symptoms of depression and stress as they adjust to parenthood. The CenteringParenting® Program is a group-focused approach offered at CommUnityCare Health Centers that better helps meet the health and social needs of patients who often face barriers when accessing healthcare. 

“This is the first time I have come to a doctor who has this type of program,” said Maria Angela Estrada, a mother and patient participating in the CenteringParenting® Program. “I love the idea. I believe it is something really beautiful that takes place here.” 

The group-focused care model is designed to host around six to eight dyads, or pairs of parents and their babies for routine health maintenance visits. Parents and babies are grouped together based on age increments, often one-month blocks. The group of similarly aged babies and their caregivers will meet ten times over the course of three years.  

“This program brings a tremendous amount of value not just to the families but also to the providers,” said Dr. Michelle Gallas, lead Pediatrician who has been running groups for the last decade at Community Care. “These families are able to build confidence, achieve better health outcomes, and form a connection with their providers, like no other.” 

Program visits are made up of three components: assessment, education and support. Upon arrival, babies receive a physical exam that includes vitals, developmental surveillance, screenings and immunizations. Then a facilitated discussion of infant and parenting related topics takes place led by providers and support staff. Finally, support or community within the medical home is built throughout the sessions.   

“The key word here is facilitation. We are offering up the question and they [parents] are the experts. They are sharing challenges, doubts and advice with each other,” added Dr. Gallas. “We offer our expert opinion when needed, but really want the best advice come from other mothers so families really get the chance to feel like they are not alone.” 

As part of the CenteringParenting® Program, mothers are also able to stay engaged in their own healthcare. The wellness visits and discussions offer a touch point to check in with mom and keep them engaged in their well-being. Mothers are provided follow up care such as well-woman exams, post-partum visits, family planning including birth control options and financial assistance.

“When I have any doubts and I get a response, I feel relieved because there are things I don’t know as a first time mom,” said Melani Navarro Hernandez, a mother and patient participating in the CenteringParenting® Program. “The moms in the group who already have children are able to answer my questions about things such as breastfeeding and sleeping schedule. I love it.” 

CenteringParenting® and CenteringPregnancy® Programs have been implemented into the care model at CommUnityCare Health Centers since 2009. The pandemic caused a hiatus, but the programs have recently made a return in the health centers and are growing. CenteringParenting® is an extension of the CenteringPregnancy ® Program, a similar group-focused model to discuss various topics with pregnant women and their healthcare providers.  

If you are an established patient at CommUnityCare Health Centers, please connect with your OB Care Coordinator at 512-978-9435 if you are interested in learning more about CenteringPregnancy® and CenteringParenting® Programs. Information is also available at  

The CenteringParenting® Program is offered at the CommUnityCare Pflugerville and North Central Health Centers. CenteringPregnancy® is offered at the CommUnityCare East Austin and North Central Health Centers.  

CommUnityCare™ Health Centers Named Top Workplace in the Greater Austin Area 

Austin, TX – CommUnityCare Health Centers is excited to announce it has earned a Top Workplaces 2023 in Central Texas award by the Austin American-Statesman Top Workplaces.  

“We are proud to be named a 2023 Top Workplace. This achievement is a testament to the unwavering dedication and passion our exceptional team at CommUnityCare Health Centers brings to their work every day,” expressed Jaeson Fournier, President and CEO.  “This recognition, coming from our amazing employees, fills us with gratitude and humility.  Especially considering the commitment and effort our team invests each day to achieve greater health equity for the patients and communities we are so privileged to serve.”  

The award recognizes local organizations that demonstrate a positive work environment and culture, honorees are selected solely through employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey. The confidential survey uniquely measures culture drivers critical to an organization’s success.  

“The CommUnityCare team and Board have worked hard to make CommUnityCare a fulfilling, supportive and welcoming workplace. Our team draws inspiration from our mission to provide equitable healthcare to those who otherwise face barriers to care. It is quite an honor to be named a top workplace in Austin,” said CommUnityCare Health Centers Board Chair, Dr. Tom Coopwood. 

CommUnityCare Health Centers provides access to primary care services including family medicine, pediatrics, dental, behavioral health, women’s health, specialty care, plus more through the lens of health equity. With 27 health centers and nearly 1,3000 employees, CommUnityCare Health Centers provides high-quality care for the un- and underinsured.

At CommUnityCare Health Centers, we believe caring for others begins with caring for our team members. Begin your career at CommUnityCare Health Centers, apply today! 

CommUnityCare Health Centers Awarded $2.5 Million to Boost Sexual Health Services 

Austin, TX – CommUnityCare Health Centers has been granted $500,000 per year for the next five years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The $2.5 million total award to the Travis County-based health center is part of a broader national strategy aimed at assisting communities dealing with a high occurrence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and a lack of adequate STI clinical services. 

The financial award, named the Enhancing STI and Sexual Health Clinic Infrastructure (ESSHCI), comes from a sustained federal effort known as Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. CommUnityCare Health Centers is among the 26 recipients across the nation to receive this critical ESSHCI funding. 

Recent information from the CDC indicates that STIs are becoming more common among various U.S. population groups, including racial and ethnic minority groups, men who have sex with men, and individuals aged 15-24 years. Locally, Austin Public Health reported in April 2023, that Travis County was experiencing an uptick in STI rates, signaling a pressing need for more resources focused on sexual health.  

“Equitable access to sexual health services is essential to the health and well-being of the communities we serve,” said Dr. Nicholas Yagoda, Chief Medical Officer at CommUnityCare Health Centers. “It’s important that timely prevention, screening and treatment be easily available to help stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections and serious health problems later in life. We are honored to partner with the Centers for Disease and Control to better serve patients who often face greater health disparities.” 

The David Powell Health Center in Central Austin has served as a hub for HIV treatment and Prevention for Central Texans since 1990. The Federally Qualified Health Center has since expanded sexual health services throughout the system.  

CommUnityCare served more than 129,000 individual patients in 2022 across 28 clinical sites in Central Texas. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, CommUnityCare provides care to the un- and under-insured through a combination of funding from Central Health, federal and state government sources and private grant funding. Patients without insurance or other financial support are offered a sliding scale fee based on their household income.  


CommUnityCare Health Centers Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place every year from September 15 through October 15 as a time to celebrate the diverse cultures, contributions and extensive histories of those of Hispanic and Latino descent.

As the nation celebrates, it is key to recognize that the Hispanic community faces a number of disparities when it comes to accessing healthcare that can limit the overall health and well-being of both themselves and their families. Uninsured rates, underlying social and economic inequities, and linguistic barriers are all contributing challenges that lead to difficulty in accessing healthcare. In 2022, CommUnityCare provided services to 129,000 patients and of those patients 73% identified as Hispanic or Latino. 97% of the 129,000 patients fall at or below 200% of the federal poverty line and 47% of patients noted they were uninsured.

The 2023 theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is “Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One”. Join CommUnityCare Health Centers as we recognize the Hispanic voices and experiences of the employees who embody the 2023 theme and are dedicated to the mission of strengthening the health and well-being of the communities we serve here in Travis County and surrounding areas.

Ana Gomez-Rubio – Physician Assistant, Pediatrics

“The most important thing to me is caring for the Hispanic community. I take great pride in practicing medicine in a way that is culturally and linguistically comfortable for my patients and their families,” said CommUnityCare Pediatric Physician Assistant, Anna Gomez-Rubio.

As a Hispanic woman, Gomez-Rubio understands the complexities that come with feeling comfortable while adapting to a new environment. At the age of 17, Gomez-Rubio came to the United States after spending her childhood being raised in Bogota, Colombia, Costa Rica and Brazil. She has since called Texas home.

“Moving so often as a child made me an expert in adapting to change, but also made me feel like I never truly belonged somewhere. Even today, if I am in America, I feel too Colombian, but if I am in Colombia, I feel too American,” expressed Gomez-Rubio. “It’s a feeling I share, and talk about, with a lot of my teenage patients. I want them to know that it’s normal. Through these discussions I can remind them – and myself- that community is not the place; it is the people.”

Since the fall of 2022, when Gomez began her work with CommUnityCare Health Centers she has strived to make an impact in the daily lives of her patients. Gomez also shares her immense dedication to educating children and their families on healthy habits to improve the quality of life for the Hispanic community – one patient at a time.

“I am fortunate to represent a small population of female Hispanic Physician Assistants and have the opportunity to be a role model every day,” said Gomez-Rubio.

Michael Campos – Primary Care Behavioral Health Supervisor

Michael Campos, CommUnityCare Behavioral Health Consultant, knows first-hand the experiences and challenges that the majority of CommUnityCare patients face. Campos was born and raised in Texas in a Spanish-speaking, low-income and underinsured household – a reflection of most patients who walk through the doors of CommUnityCare Health Centers each and every day. His parents immigrated to the United States from El Salvador in the early 1980s.

“I was the first member in my immediate family to graduate from college, receiving a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and a Master of Social Work (MSW),” said Campos. “In college, I realized I wanted to go into a career that involved working with people who grew up or are currently living in similar situations to what I did. I chose social work as a profession so I could help empower lives and communities, especially the Hispanic community.”

Campos first came to CommUnityCare Health Centers in February 2016, sharing his appreciation for the team-based work environment with people who care for our patients, each other, and the mission.

“There is a known cultural stigma around the topic of mental health and behavioral health services within the Hispanic community,” said Campos. “In my role as a Behavioral Health Consultant (BHC), I have been able to reach and support a lot of the Hispanic community and provide services to many people who normally may not have access to or be as open to support.”

Yvonne Camarena – Chief Nursing Officer

“I was fortunate to have the most incredible role model, my mother,” said CommUnityCare Chief Nursing Officer, Yvonne Camarena. “My mother was creating her own environment of opportunity where there were limited options for Latina women.”

As a second-generation nurse, following in her mother’s footsteps, Camarena carries the principles her mother taught her in the daily work she does at CommUnityCare Health Centers.

Yvonne Camarena served as Chief Operating Officer for CommUnityCare Health Centers until August of 2022 transitioning to the Chief Nursing Officer role.  Yvonne areas of responsibility include Nursing Services, Referral Management, Population Health Management Programs, Care Management and Community Health Workers services, Value Base Care initiatives, Infection Prevention, Laboratory Services and Health Information Management services.   

“Regardless of the adversity she [my mother] faced, she instilled in her children the value of demonstrating the pride of a Latina personal identity, a strong work ethic, kindness for individuals who traditionally have not received respect, and not fearing doing what is best for your community,” added Camarena.

After nearly 16 years of calling CommUnityCare Health Centers home, Camarena’s dedication to the community and workforce has not faltered.

“As a Latina Nurse Leader, I am a reflection of our patients and workforce,” said Camarena.  “Supporting opportunities for growth and development for individuals who might otherwise not have as many prospects is key for our community and organization.”

CommUnityCare™ Health Centers Continues Important Work as National Funding Deadline Approaches

For most Central Texans with health insurance, the decision to see a family practice or pediatric provider is a simple calculation. Is this visit worth the co-pay and the time spent getting and going to the appointment?

For those without health insurance, that same decision is much more complex. The math for uninsured individuals starts with what the out-of-pocket costs for seeing a doctor will be, with this increased by the costs of needed lab work, prescriptions, transportation costs to get to their appointment, and, for many, lost wages because their employer does not provide leave benefits. For those who are low income and uninsured, these projected costs are unaffordable, and all too often lead to a delay in getting care or skipping care altogether.

Ensuring that primary care medical and dental services can be accessed by our low-income and uninsured neighbors is at the heart of the high-quality and affordable healthcare provided by the nation’s almost 1,400 federally funded health centers. Authorized under Section 330 of the US Public Health Service Act, these health centers serve over 30 million patients a year and are required to render care without regard to a patient’s insurance status, with low-income patients able to pay significantly less for their care based on financial means. In return, these health centers receive a federal grant to support their care provision, although, most of a health center’s services are supported by billing revenues.

Annually, the federal government invests almost $6 billion in grants to support primary care services to uninsured/uninsured patients cared for by the nation’s health centers. This investment has consistently saved the United States health system an estimated $24 billion a year with these same health centers also serving as important medical access points and employers within federally designated underserved communities.

Locally, the CommUnityCare™ Health Centers is one of the largest health centers in the country and is the second largest in Texas, operates 28 health centers in Austin and its surrounding communities.  Thanks to support and partnership with Central Health, CommUnityCare served more than 129,000 unique patients in 2022, of whom, 97% had incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level, 87% self-reported as a minority, 57% were best served in language other than English, and approximately 85% were Travis County residents.

Each year in August, the efforts of the nation’s health centers’ work are recognized during National Health Center Week. As part of our celebrations this year from August 6 – 12, CommUnityCare and Central Health will be opening the Chalmers Courts Health Center. This new health center, located in East Austin, is just one example of how community health centers leverage community partnerships and government funding to creatively fill community healthcare gaps. Even with the changes in East Austin’s historic demographics, pockets of lower-income households remain, often with more complex healthcare needs than their more affluent neighbors. Retaining affordable and accessible healthcare options in Austin’s city core is critically important to meeting the needs of our lower-income neighbors.

So, in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin and Central Health, the CommUnityCare has converted two of the historic housing units at the Pathways at Chalmers Courts public housing development on Chicon Street into a primary and dental healthcare clinic that will serve the residents of Chalmers Courts and low-income individuals that live nearby.

Yet, even as we are celebrating this grand opening, 70% of the federal funding supporting health centers are at risk unless Congress passes legislation renewing the Community Health Center Fund before the end of September. This funding uncertainty has already disrupted service planning for many health centers with many already planning for service reductions should funding not be renewed.

While this represents another math equation that needs to be solved, it is one that has a profound impact on those served by health centers like the CommUnityCare Health Centers. This issue is even more significant when one considers what it means for our and the nation’s health center patients.

Access to health care within our communities is critically important to achieving greater health equity – something that CommUnityCare and peer health centers work daily to achieve. In the end, the calculus matters for all of us. Delayed care costs because the math is too much for low-income uninsured patients to overcome costs more than dollars. It costs the viability and vitality of communities because it can result in preventive years of life lost. One thing we know for certain is that the equation for better health is accessing healthcare when it is needed.  We also know that the best way to save healthcare dollars nationally is to engage and empower patients in their care, including ensuring that preventative services like cancer screenings are obtained.

So, as we celebrate National Health Center Week and the tremendous work of the healthcare professionals and staff caring for the nation’s medically vulnerable including the CommUnityCare team, call on Congress to continue its long-standing support of the Community Health Center Fund and to renew this most important funding prior to September 30th

To learn more, click here.

Jaeson T. Fournier, D.C., MPH, is the chief executive officer of the CommUnityCare Health Centers, which operates 28 community health centers in Central Texas, serving more than 129,000 individuals. He also serves on the board of the Texas Association of Community Health Centers.

Get Ready for Back to School at the CommUnityCare™ Health Centers 

In honor of National Health Center Week, the CommUnityCare™ Health Centers will host two back-to-school events in order to help Central Texas’ children get prepped for their return to classes. 

National Health Center Week (August 6th – 12th) is an opportunity to highlight the commitment and passion of Community Health Centers that diligently work to improve health outcomes and narrow health disparities. CommUnityCare Health Centers is Central Texas’ largest nonprofit health center network operating 28 locations, the newest addition being the Chalmers Courts Health Center. The CommUnityCare team is committed to providing a range of quality, comprehensive services to underserved populations regardless of their ability to pay.  

The Madagascar-themed back-to-school bash will offer immunizations for children ages 3-18. FREE backpacks, school supplies, paletas and music will also be offered.

Registration is required for both immunizations and the drive-thru backpack drive.  

To register your child(ren) for an immunization appointment, CLICK HERE. 

To register for a FREE backpack and school supplies, CLICK HERE. 

Southeast Health and Wellness Center 

August 5 | 8a.m.-12p.m.  

North Central Health Center 

August 12 | 8a.m.-12p.m.  


CommUnityCare Health Centers Receives Delta Dental Grant Funding to Improve Dental Health for Patients 

CommUnityCare Health Centers provides equitable access to dental care for Central Texans through its eight dental clinics. In 2022, CommUnityCare provided vital dental services to more than 25,000 patients, the majority of patients falling 200% below the federal poverty guideline.  

Thanks to an $80,000 grant from Delta Dental Community Care Foundation, CommUnityCare Health Centers will be able to improve access to affordable, quality dental care for its patients. The grant will provide funding to purchase new equipment, make upgrades, and provide dental education and marketing.  

“This generous grant from Delta Dental allows CommUnityCare to further reduce the disparities that our patient populations face when trying to access crucial healthcare services,” said CommUnityCare Chief Executive Officer Jaeson Fournier. “We are thankful for this funding that will help us further support our mission of strengthening the health and well-being of the communities we serve.” 

 The funding is part of $16 million in grants that the foundation is distributing amongst nonprofit organizations throughout 15 states and the District of Colombia. The funding aims to increase and safeguard access to oral health care.  

“This year’s Access to Care Grants represent the program’s largest annual funding and are focused on three critical areas of need: the oral health crisis among older adults, health equity and rural oral health access,” said Kenzie Ferguson, vice president of foundation and corporate social responsibility for Delta Dental of California. “The important relationships with our partners enable us to achieve our broader mutual goals to help make the communities we serve strong, healthier and more resilient.” 

CommUnityCare’s fully trained dental teams are committed to helping families in Central Texas receive proper dental care. Dental services include preventative dental exams, cleanings, fillings, extractions, emergency treatments and more. To learn more about CommUnityCare dental services, click here.

CommUnityCare Hosting Mpox (Monkeypox) Vaccine Event


CommUnityCare is hosting an event to vaccinate at-risk individuals against mpox (MonkeyPox). This event will be open to the community and all CommUnityCare patients. Qualifying risk factors to receive the vaccine include at least one of the below: 

  • Patient has known or suspected exposure to someone with mpox in the last 2 weeks
  • A new diagnosis of one or more sexually transmitted diseases in the last 6 months (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis)
  • More than one sex partner in the last 6 months
  • Patient has had any of the following in the past 6 months: Sex at a commercial sex venue (like a sex club or bathhouse), Sex related to a large commercial event or in a geographic area (city or county for example) where mpox virus transmission is occurring, Sex in exchange for money or other items
  • Patient has a sex partner with any of the above risks
  • Patient anticipates experiencing any of the above scenarios
  • Patient works in settings where you may be exposed to mpox or you work with mpox in a laboratory

To schedule your first or second mpox vaccine appointment call 512-978-9015 or CLICK HERE to schedule online.

To learn more about mpox (Monkeypox), CLICK HERE.