Carmen martinez



San Ysidro Health owes its existence to the unwavering dedication of a remarkable woman, Carmen Martinez.
Mrs. Martinez, the last surviving Founding Mother of San Ysidro Health, embodies the spirit of resilience and selflessness. Despite working full-time and raising her seven children, she still found time to initiate “El Club de las Madres,” a group of like-minded mothers who shared the vision of bringing health care to their community.
Back in the late 1960s, San Ysidro was a primarily agricultural community that lacked access to adequate health care. The only physician serving the area could hardly keep up with the needs of the 7,000 residents, which meant that families with children like Mrs. Martinez’s had to travel for hours to receive medical care.
With community support, fervor and fortitude, the seven Founding Mothers, including Carmen Martinez, established “La Casita”, a little 4-bedroom white house leased for a dollar, equipped with donated equipment and staffed by three volunteer nurses and two physicians two afternoons a week. Approximately 40 children a day were seen.



Carmen martinez receives a hug from ana melgoza of syh




San Ysidro Health has evolved from a small clinic located along the border into one of San Diego’s largest and most well-respected nonprofit community health providers.

Today, San Ysidro Health and its staff of over 2,600 members, of which 77% are women, provide compassionate, innovative care to more than 145,000 patients through a vast and integrated network of 50 program sites across San Diego County including medical clinics, dental clinics, behavioral health centers, HIV centers, WIC nutrition centers, mobile medical units, school-based health centers, chiropractic services, pediatric developmental clinic, teen clinic, senior health center and Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). San Ysidro Health is now providing care and support services in North County and Rural East County.

Mrs. Martinez was honored with an honorary degree fromCarmen martinez and her daughter Southwestern College  in 2022. She has built a personal and community legacy that will endure for generations to come. Mrs. Martinez has seven children and 21 grandchildren, all of whom have excelled in their education and careers.

As we approach Mrs. Martinez’s 100th birthday in September 2023, we are reminded of the power of community and the importance of fighting for what you believe in.

She still reminds us there is still much work to be done to meet the health needs of our families.




Que Viva Carmen Martinez hoy y por siempre!
Honor Mrs. Carmen Martinez’s 100th Birthday and impact by donating to our campaign.
Funds raised will provide critical healthcare services, to those who need it most.

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Esteban Villanueva