Who We Are

In 1994, the California Primary Care Association (CPCA) was formed and has become the statewide leader and recognized voice representing the interests of California community health centers and their patients. CPCA represents more than 1,300 not-for-profit community health centers (CHCs) and Regional Clinic Associations who provide comprehensive, quality health care services, particularly for low-income, uninsured and underserved Californians, who might otherwise not have access to health care.


CPCA's diverse membership includes community and free clinics, federally funded and federally designated clinics, rural and urban clinics, large and small clinic corporations and clinics dedicated to special needs and special populations. CPCA is designated by the Federal Bureau of Primary Health Care as the state primary care association and receives federal program support to develop and enhance services for member clinics.

Our Mission

The mission of CPCA is to lead and position community clinics, health centers, and networks through advocacy, education and services as key players in the health care delivery system to improve the health status of their communities.

What We Do

CHCs are mission driven to minimize the impact of barriers to health and health care access including poverty, lack of health insurance, immigration status, ethnicity, language and culture, disability, homelessness, geographic isolation and other diverse needs. These barriers continue to exist despite recent expansions in publicly supported health insurance programs for uninsured populations. CHCs address access barriers through tailored programs and delivery systems that offer culturally appropriate, high quality, primary and preventive health services.

California's CHCs offer a proven delivery model that can serve as a quality benchmark for meeting the needs of California's diverse and disenfranchised populations. CHCs developed as a public health oriented model to reduce health disparities and to focus on improved health outcomes for their patients and communities. As policymakers and stakeholders work to develop a health care system that is gradually more inclusive of those who have been left behind, the CHC infrastructure and model delivery system can and should be recognized, supported and replicated to ensure meaningful, quality access for all Californians.

As providers for the most vulnerable Californians, CHCs understand that in order to achieve the goal of access to health for all, California cannot rely entirely on incremental expansion of existing publicly funded health insurance programs. Access to health will require: (1) ongoing investment in services and delivery models that recognize the special needs of California's diverse communities; (2) sound policies to maintain a responsive community-based alternative (safety net) for those who will continue to face barriers to care; and (3) comprehensive strategies to fundamentally improve the health status of individuals and communities by reducing or eliminating the underlying causes of poor health in underserved communities including lack of education, high-risk behaviors, unemployment and low wage employment, and unhealthy living conditions.

CHCs are those nonprofit, tax-exempt clinics that are licensed as community or free clinics, as defined under Section 1204 of the California Health and Safety Code, and provide services to patients on a sliding fee scale basis or, in the case of free clinics, at no charge to the patients. The term "CHCs" includes federally designated community health centers, migrant health centers, rural health centers, and frontier health centers. CHCs meeting federal requirements and definitions for purposes of Medicaid reimbursement may also be referred to as federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) or FQHC look-alikes.

CPCA is an Anti-Racist Organization

Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) have been oppressed and subjected to brutality for centuries, reinforced with the creation of policies and institutions that are entrenched in a system that perpetuates racial inequity and injustice. What we are reading in the news and seeing in our communities, and what BIPOC individuals continue to experience regularly, is not new. The pervasive and profound effects of racism in health care, as an example, negatively impact social determinants of health and exponentially contribute to poor health outcomes for communities of color. To willfully ignore how white supremacist constructs have marginalized entire groups of people because of the color of their skin is to be complicit. It is the responsibility of the California Primary Care Association (CPCA) to disrupt harmful practices that perpetuate racial injustice and inequality, and we must admit our own complicity and challenge these constructs in our own association.

To that end, and in alignment with our mission to position health centers as key players in the health care delivery system to improve the health of their communities, and in line with the CPCA’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy, CPCA continues in its journey to becoming an anti-racist organization by actively developing new strategies and supporting current policies that address systemic racism within and beyond our organization. We envision ourselves as an association that will create spaces for members across all identity groups to be full participants in decisions that shape the institution and that we are inclusive of diverse cultures, lifestyles, and interests. We take this opportunity to share our espoused values that drive our anti-racist goals, as well as outline our commitments to this ongoing work.

What We Value

CPCA acknowledges that racism is not something that only occurs, or is perpetuated, at the interpersonal level between individuals. Racism exists at the cultural, internal, and institutional levels as well, and with this acknowledgement, we declare the following:

  1. We value and respect all people and their individual contributions, ideas, and cultures, by uplifting the differences in cultural perspectives from all backgrounds, skin color, and national origin.
  2. We value the growth and development of all individuals to be able to meaningfully and authentically interact and develop relationships with people of all backgrounds and cultures.
  3. We value spaces that encourage and support people to share and release internalized harmful beliefs around race and allow themselves to accept and celebrate their value as equal to all other individuals.
  4. We value institutional constructs that treat and assign value to its constituents equally, and we value institutional policies and practices that are designed with the expressed purpose of promoting equity and opportunity.
  5. Finally, we value the grace and forgiveness necessary to support individual growth as each of us strive to center justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

What We Commit To

Because we hold these values as true, we commit to dismantling workplace inequities by addressing internal racist practices, creating spaces for inclusion and power sharing, building internal systems that promote social and racial justice, and leveraging our anti-racist principals to advance an equitable healthcare delivery system. Specifically, we commit to:

  1. Ongoing internal staff education and support efforts that are specific to anti-racist principals and that do not unduly burden BIPOC staff by requiring them to shoulder the emotional labor of leading such efforts, furthering personal and historical trauma.
  2. Building inclusive internal organizational spaces that are diverse, safe, foster opportunity sharing across staff levels, and value the individual contributions of all staff.
  3. Transforming internal practices that influence the structure and priorities of the organization to ensure they yield anti-racist outcomes. These include but are not limited to hiring/retention/promotion practices (in alignment with our Equal Employment Opportunity Policy), grant and contract procurement, and strategic partnerships.
  4. Ongoing assessment of ways CPCA can enhance its strategies and workplan to implement anti-racist policies and procedures.
  5. Instituting agreements and expectations that ensure our anti-racist values are effectively supported by leadership, extend throughout association work, and hold the Association accountable to achieve our anti-racist objectives.
  6. Fostering external spaces, such as the Supporting Black Communities Workgroup and the Health Equity Taskforce, for our member health centers to take part in these efforts with us and together create a more equitable healthcare system.
  7. Learning from other anti-racist organizations and prioritizing partnerships that align with and support CPCA’s anti-racist objectives.
  8. Finally, we commit to leveraging our anti-racist principals to advance an equitable health care delivery system that reduces health disparities and truly achieves health equity for all.


For further information about CPCA or if you have any questions about becoming a member, please contact info@cpca.org.