Community Health Care Celebrates Their 50th Anniversary and Health Heroes

One Person Can Make a Difference

On this anniversary year, Community Health Care will be doing things a little differently than other organizations. They are kicking off Health Heroes, a program that recognizes health champions contributing to the connected health of Pierce County. The Health Heroes awards will be given out in 2019 on Wednesday, October 30th at the Hotel Murano. Tickets are currently available and proceeds for the event that will also celebrate Community Health Care’s 50th Anniversary, will go toward the Kimi & George Tanbara, MD Endowment Fund for Patient Care. This safety net is particularly relevant in 2019 as obstacles to healthcare access and security continue to mount.

“Community Health Care has been filling the healthcare gap for 50 years. And what that’s meant for Pierce County residents is a consistent quality of care that’s not available in many other parts of the state,” said Victoria Woodards, Mayor of Tacoma.

Nominations for Health Heroes are currently open at and Community Health Care is hoping that the deserving volunteers, coaches, teachers, health providers, and others will have champions who will nominate them by Friday, September 27, 2019.

“What we’ve come to realize is that our strong partnerships with other organizations for things like housing, education, living environment, and more, strongly contribute to whether a person can stay healthy. And this year, we want to bring those individuals and organizations out into the spotlight, with our Health Heroes awards,” says Community Health Care Board Chair, Gary Walmer.

One person made a difference in 1969. Dr. George Tanbara never expected that the impromptu group of providers that he had rounded up would be anything more than a stop-gap. Operating out of donated facilities, after hours, with donated medications, the group was filling in after another hospital in town closed both its doors and its charity care. When it became obvious that the city’s low-income population had nowhere to turn, the group founded Community Health Care. 

That was 50 years ago, and today, what started as two volunteer run clinics, has turned into a registered 501(c) 3 non-profit health care system  providing care for 46,288 patients through five Health Care Centers offering Medical, Dental, Pharmacy and Behavioral Health services. However while the organization has grown, the promise has miraculously stayed the same—no one is denied care because of inability to pay for any service including: pediatrics, women’s health, pharmacy, maternity support services, or substance abuse services. 

Russ Sondker
Marketing & Development Manager
Community Health Care