What Women Can Do to Reduce Their Risk From Heart Disease

This article was originally published by CNN. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women — for about 1 in 5 women — in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 60 million American women are living with some form of heart disease, yet just over half (56%) are aware that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women.

What are the types of heart disease that women should be aware of? Does heart disease affect women differently than it affects men? What are symptoms that may signify cardiac problems? And what should women do in order to improve their cardiac health?

To guide us through these questions, I spoke with CNN wellness expert Dr. Leana Wen. Wen is an emergency physician and adjunct associate professor at George Washington University. She previously served as Baltimore’s health commissioner.


CNN: What are the types of heart disease that women should be aware of?

Dr. Leana Wen: Heart disease is an umbrella term that encompasses several cardiovascular conditions.

Coronary artery disease is the most common kind of heart disease. This occurs when the arteries in the heart are narrowed or become blocked by plaques made of cholesterol deposits. Coronary artery disease and vascular disease, or disease in blood vessels, are the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. Risk factors for coronary artery disease include medical problems such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes; obesity; and smoking.

Another type of heart disease is heart rhythm abnormalities. Atrial fibrillation, for instance, occurs when the heart beats irregularly. This can lead to blood clots and complications like stroke and heart failure.

Heart failure itself is another form of heart disease. This occurs when the heart is damaged or weakened in some way. Causes of heart failure include heart attacks; chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and excessive alcohol use; and some viral or bacterial infections.

There are also abnormalities with the structure of the heart itself, for example, if there are defects with the valves in the heart or a hole in the wall of the heart. Some of these are congenital, meaning they are there at birth; or they could develop over time due to infection, disease or other factors.

CNN: Does heart disease affect women differently than it affects men? 

Wen: In some ways, yes. This begins at birth, because the size and structure of the heart is different in men and women, with women generally having smaller hearts and blood vessels compared with men. Studies have shown that women have a higher likelihood of developing heart disease in the smaller arteries of their heart. This is harder to diagnose compared with problems with the larger arteries and contributes in part to the higher rates of missed diagnoses in women.

Furthermore, there are hormonal changes, such as changes in estrogen levels, that occur in women during their lifetime that may also affect their risk of coronary artery disease. And women are more likely than men to have certain conditions that increase their risk of heart conditions, including anemia and endometriosis.

Heart disease is the top killer of women in the United States.

CNN: Are there cardiac problems that occur specifically during pregnancy?

Wen: There are medical conditions that can manifest during pregnancy that could influence heart health both while the patient is pregnant and later in life. These include common conditions such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, and less common but very serious problems such as enlarged heart resulting in heart failure.

There may also be preexisting heart conditions that don’t manifest until the body is stressed during pregnancy and labor and delivery. For instance, someone may have had long-standing blood pressure but not known it until pregnancy. Women of child-bearing age need to be aware of these conditions and pay attention to heart health before, during and after delivery.

CNN: What are symptoms that mean women should seek prompt urgent medical attention? 

Wen: The classic symptoms of heart attack are chest pain, pain in the jaw and neck extending to left arm, shortness of breath, feeling lightheaded and nausea. These symptoms may not all be there, or there may be variations. For instance, someone may not say they have chest pain, but they could be having a heavy sensation or dull ache in their chest. They could have pain in their upper abdomen, back or shoulders.

Women are more likely than men to have vague, non-classic symptoms, including fatigue, nausea, and upper abdomen discomfort. Multiple studies have reported that women are misdiagnosed more than men; their symptoms of heart attack end up being attributed to heartburn or even psychiatric manifestations. In one study, nearly half of women didn’t have the classic signs of heart attack.

CNN: What about other heart problems that aren’t heart attacks? What might be some warning signs?

Wen: Someone with heart rhythm abnormalities might experience palpitations and feel like their heart is suddenly beating quickly and irregularly. They might experience lightheadedness and feeling faint. People with congestive heart failure could have gradual worsening of their ability to exercise and start feeling winded after a short walk. They might notice swelling in their legs and require more pillows to be comfortable sleeping at night.

CNN: What should women do to improve their cardiac health?

Wen: The most important thing is to be aware of and manage existing medical conditions that increase your risk of heart disease. High blood pressure is one such risk factor. More than 56 million American women have high blood pressure. That’s 44% of adult women in the United States. While the incidence of high blood pressure increases with age, many younger women have this condition, too; according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 women of reproductive age have high blood pressure.

Fewer than 1 in 4 women with high blood pressure have this condition under control, according to the CDC. Keeping on top of your blood pressure and optimizing it with lifestyle changes and medications, if needed, is key to reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications.

The same goes for women with diabetes and high cholesterol. Obesity is also a major risk factor, as is smoking, excessive alcohol intake, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. Women should also not discount the role of stress, sleep, and mental well-being, which can also influence heart health.d thrive.

CommUnityCare Health Centers Celebrates Black History Month

February marks Black History Month, a dedicated opportunity to recognize and appreciate the significant contributions and rich culture of African Americans.  

As we celebrate Black History Month, we recognize the widespread disparity of access to respectful, quality health care and its negative impact on health outcomes for black communities. In Texas, racial and ethnic inequities in medical treatment rank among the highest in the nation, and despite this, communities of color continue to be resilient and thrive.  

Join us as we shine a light on the voices and unique experiences of some of our black team members who are dedicated to the mission of strengthening the health and well-being of the communities we serve here in Central Texas.  

Jael Williams – Care Manager Supervisor: Sexual Health Program 

Jael Williams, CommUnityCare Care Manager Supervisor: Sexual Health Program, has been supporting the health of communities facing the greatest barriers to health care and the heaviest burdens of illness since 2019.  

Her work on our Sexual Health Team focuses on populations at greatest risk of contracting HIV. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black people account for a higher proportion of people with HIV compared to other races and ethnicities. Racism, HIV stigma, homophobia, poverty, and barriers to health care continue to drive these disparities.  

“The Sexual Health Program works to develop effective outreach, education, and testing strategies and has partnered with local institutions like Huston-Tillotson University, the oldest HBCU [Historically Black College and University] in Austin, to collaborate with students who are equally passionate about educating their communities on how to stay healthy,” Williams explains. “I hope the impact has been a positive one: through empowering and supporting black people in self-advocacy and ownership of their health, confident partnerships between black patients and their provider teams will lead to positive health outcomes.” 

Raised in inner city Trenton, New Jersey, Jael’s parents cultivated a strong sense of compassion in her and her siblings that gave them the ability to see similarities instead of differences and feel comfortable in any environment.  

“Whether being educated in a highly competitive private school, homeschooled, or attending community college; providing community outreach with and to the street hustlers in our neighborhood at a young age; attending and eventually teaching dance classes at a Black woman-owned studio for 15 years; or having dinners with White House consultants and political pollsters as a teen, every experience was a teachable moment.”  

Tiffany Clayton – Pharmacy Technician: Patient Assistance Program (PAP)  

“I offer a unique understanding of the cultural and social factors that influence health factors in the [black] community. As a health care professional, I plant seeds of hope in our patients to help regain their trust in an overall broken health care system,” said Tiffany Clayton, PAP Pharmacy Technician at CommUnityCare Health Centers. “I serve as a role model, showing young black and brown kids in the community that careers in health care are attainable and rewarding. Representation matters.”  

Since 2020, Tiffany has been an integral part of the Patient Assistance Program, assisting patients in securing access to medications at little to no cost. She prides herself in engaging in meaningful dialogue with patients to ensure their voices are acknowledged. Tiffany deeply appreciates family, culture, and the values her mother instilled in her from a young age. “My mother, a woman of resilience and unwavering determination, worked tirelessly to provide for me and my three siblings. Watching her juggle multiple jobs, I learned early the value of hard work and the bitter taste of struggle,” Clayton explains, “The image of my mother’s weary but unyielding eyes became my motivation, a silent promise to myself that I would strive for a better life.”  

In 2019, Clayton became the second person in her immediate family to graduate college, earning her bachelor’s degree in biology from Huston-Tillotson University. There, she was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., an organization committed to community support with a primary focus on the black community. She’s currently pursuing a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Abilene Christian University, with sights on graduating in 2024.  

Her drive to help others is not just a professional choice, but a personal one. At the age of 5, her son Gregory was diagnosed with Autism, which opened her eyes to the unique struggles and triumphs of other families with children on the spectrum. This inspired Tiffany to become an advocate, dedicating her time outside of work to help other families navigate the complexities of life with a child with Autism.  

“My life is a testament to the power of perseverance, community, and the enduring strength of family bonds. My story is about overcoming challenges and transforming them into avenues for growth, compassion, and societal contribution. As I move forward, I carry with me the legacy of my mother’s strength, the joy of my family’s unity, and a heart dedicated to service.” 

Tara Trower – Chief Strategy Officer 

In her role as Chief Strategy Officer for CommUnityCare Health Centers, Tara Trower combines a passion for civic engagement with her passion for helping her community thrive. “I get my energy from being with people who share my commitment to being proactive on behalf of those who, for various reasons, have difficulty accessing the things that many take for granted – shelter, health care, education, childcare, economic stability and food,” Trower says.  

Trower has spent much of her career shedding light on the inequities within our communities, amplifying the voices of marginalized individuals and bringing attention to systemic injustices. Trower spent years as a journalist at the Austin American-Statesman where she was able to shine a light on systemic inequities. She later joined The University of Texas at Austin where she played a role in bringing equitable access to education. Now, Trower works to bring equitable access to care in Travis County and Central Texas with CommUnityCare Health Centers.  

“African Americans are overrepresented in nearly every negative health category there is…in addition to looking at the data to support the strategic vision of community, I also lean on my community knowledge as a longtime Austinite and my lived experience as an African American woman.”  

Tara grew up in a military family, moving around the United States for her father’s assignments. Frequent moving meant experiencing different cultures and communities, and as a woman of color, navigating race-based assumptions. In some instances, she was the only black person in her school where her academic abilities were underestimated, her athletic abilities were overestimated, and when she spoke on topics like affirmative action, it was assumed she was speaking for all black people everywhere.  

“My experiences taught me about the dangers of making assumptions and to treat every encounter with a new person as a fresh slate. It’s one of the approaches I hope our team members take with our patients,” Trower explains. “I have suffered the indignity of being treated one way by a doctor when I was dressed in my executive pantsuit and a completely different way by the same care team when I showed up in sweats. We all have biases; it takes work to see the individual. I’m lucky that I have had lots of practice over the decades, allowing me to better support the work to improve the health of all the communities we serve.” 

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.”

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.

CommUnityCare Health Centers is moving its pediatric practice from our East Austin clinic (211 Comal St.) to our new Pflugerville Health Center (2700 W Pecan Street #450, Pflugerville, TX 78660) starting May 30, 2023.

If moving your child’s care to Pflugerville is not convenient for you, we can transfer care to one of our other pediatric locations, including our Chalmers Courts Health Center (COMING SOON) located down the street from East Austin Clinic, at 314 Chicon Street.

The new 15,000-square-foot Pflugerville Health Center will also offer family medicine, women’s health, dental, and laboratory services along with pediatrics.

Your child will receive the same high-quality, welcoming care at all of our locations. We look forward to continuing to care for your family. Call 512-978-9015 to schedule a pediatrics appointment at one of our pediatrics locations.

Pediatric Locations:

Chalmers Courts (COMING SOON)– 314 Chicon St., Austin, TX 78702

South Austin Health Center – 2529 S. First St. Austin, TX 78704

Springdale – 7112 Ed Bluestein Blvd., Suite 100 Austin, TX 78723

Sandra Joy Community Health & Wellness Center – 1705 E. 11th St. Austin, TX 78702

Riverside – 2237 E. Riverside Drive Suite 101-C Austin, TX 78741

CommUnityCare Health Centers is making strides toward building COVID-19 vaccine confidence and bolstering COVID-19 vaccinations in underserved communities through its grant-funded COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Program. The program launched in January 2023 and has already surpassed expectations and is a testament to CommUnityCare’s mission of striving for health equity and reducing barriers to accessing healthcare resources.

CommUnityCare received $1.175 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration in December 2022 to support education and vaccine events in underserved areas of Central Texas. The funds have supported clinic and community events with vaccines administered by Ascension Seton team members.

CommUnityCare’s Community Outreach Coordinators, Claudia Franco, and Felipe Rivera, along with Community Development Manager, Karla Rivera are leading the outreach effort, coordinating events and providing 1:1 education and information to the community.

“We are thrilled to share the success of our ongoing COVID-19 vaccination program,” said Felipe Rivera. “We have truly been humbled by the rich stories which our patients and community members have shared with us. Ranging from newly emigrated families, all the way to people who are receiving the vaccine for the first time.”

As of April, the bi-lingual outreach team has engaged with nearly 1,400 people both in-clinic and at community events. From these interactions, 352 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge. The work is an extension of CommUnityCare’s work early in the pandemic, working with community partners to ensure more equitable access to vaccines and COVID-19 testing early in the pandemic. CommUnityCare has administered more than 154,000 COVID-19 vaccines since January 2021.

“Our underserved communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 throughout the pandemic and deserve equitable access to vaccines,” said Franco. “Thanks to the engagement and educational information we are able to provide, our community is better informed about current vaccination guidelines.”

The program would not be possible without the collaboration with Ascension, which provides their medical personnel to administer the vaccines. The partnership allows CommUnityCare’s medical staff to remain in the health centers supporting primary care and other needs of its 129,000 patients. Additionally, CommUnityCare has collaborated with the following local organizations to help this program grow: Equidad ATX, JD’s Supermarkets, Mexican American Cultural Arts Center, Mexican Consulate, Todos Juntos, Travis County Precinct 4 Constable Office and United Way of Central Texas.

This free COVID-19 vaccination program is open to anyone in the community ages 5 and older. If you would like to receive your free COVID-19 vaccine, please see the list of upcoming events below.


May Clinic Events:

North Central Health Center
Mondays 10:00 am – 2:00 pm | Wednesdays 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Southeast Health & Wellness Center
Tuesdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm | Thursdays 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm


May Community Events:

May 13th: Bookspring Fest
1807 W Slaughter Ln., Bldg #1, Austin, TX., 78748 | 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm

May 16th: Creedmoor Food Distribution
5604 FM 1327 Creedmoor, TX., 78610 | 8:30 am – 9:30 am

May 19th30th Annual Senior Mayfest: Wild World of Sports
Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA)
1156 Hargrave St., Austin, TX 78702 | 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

May 20th: Del Valle High School Food Distribution
5210 Ross Rd., Del Valle, TX., 78617 | 9:30 am – 11:45 am

May 25th: Turner Roberts Rec Center Food Distribution
7201 Colony Loop, Austin, TX., 78724 | 9:30 am – 11:00 am

May 25th: AVANCE South Graduation at Anita Coy Facility
4900 Gonzalez St., Austin, TX., 78702 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

May 26th: AVANCE North Graduation at River Oaks Elementary
12401 Scofield Farms Dr., Austin, TX., 78758 | 9:30 am – 12:30 pm