In 1984, Wallace founder Jim Reuler, MD and a handful of other doctors begin making medical visits to homeless and low-income residents in downtown Portland. Dr. Reuler named the fledgling organization the Wallace Medical Concern, in memory of his patient Edwin B. Wallace, whose bequest helped fund the groups early expenses.
Mr. Wallace was a maker of hand-crafted fishing rods. In his honor, Dr. Reuler used a fishing tackle box to carry his medical supplies on patient visits. He and a growing team of volunteer medical professionals worked hard to meet the most urgent needs of vulnerable men and women who had no other access to care.
As the years past, more and more people in great need started calling East Multnomah County home. Wallace moved with them, opening an urgent care clinic in Gresham and bringing a mobile medical clinic to locations throughout the area. We focused special attention on growing numbers of Latinx individuals and families, including agricultural workers at area farms.
In 2011 we began to offer our patients ongoing primary care with a regular family care provider—and in 2012 we became a Federally Qualified Health Center. Today we are a full-service medical “home base” for individuals and families, with multi-cultural staff who partner fully with patients to improve their health. Our integrated, whole person approach unites medical, dental, and behavioral health services with a robust focus on addressing economic and social barriers that create health disparities.
Communities of color, immigrants and other underserved groups face unacceptable disadvantages in terms of health access and health outcomes, highlighted more than ever by the COVID-19 outbreak. Many are “essential workers” in often unsafe work environments. Significant numbers live in crowded conditions or have no home at all. Too many have lost jobs, and health insurance.
Wallace has dramatically increased telehealth services, and connect them to needed community resources. Donated patient support funds allow us to help with food, transportation, utility payments, rent and much more.
Dr. Reuler founded Wallace with the belief that everyone deserves high-quality health care, regardless of circumstances. He was committed to meeting this need, one person at a time.