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About VIM San Diego


We’re VIM San Diego…But How Did We Begin…

Our History

Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) began in Hilton Head, South Carolina—born out of the kind heart of a retired physician—Jack McConnell. The good doctor often gave rides to hitchhikers and was shocked to learn that many of them were among a much larger problem…millions of people with no access to healthcare through no fault of their own. Because he was a man of action, he started the first VIM clinic in 1993.  Since that first clinic, VIM has become a national organization whose primary purpose is to establish neighborhood medical clinics that serve the uninsured families in a Culture of Caring.

The Heart and Soul of Every  VIM Clinic: The Culture of Caring

  • Remembering that how people are treated is as important as the medical care they receive
  • Knowing those coming to us are good people in need of help who do their best to survive on limited resources, exhibiting great courage simply trying to get through each day
  • Recognizing the strengths of those in need and respecting their dignity
  • Seeking to heal not only physical illnesses, but also the injury caused by bias, prejudice and indifference

Culture of Caring Spreads to San Diego

Many residents of East County San Diego faced this same daunting issue of finding healthcare.  VIM San Diego began working tirelessly to become a safety net for thousands of patients who do not have healthcare insurance.

We are a free medical clinic that serves thousands in need each year…there are no charges, bills or insurance forms to fill out. As you can imagine, an accomplishment of this magnitude took a significant amount of time, effort and dedication.

Our Journey Through the Years

2002:  Members of the Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church begin planning to establish a clinic in San Diego’s peninsula area. Although their efforts are well received, they are unable to locate an affordable, properly zoned site.

2004: The Chapel of the Valley United Methodist Church in El Cajon generously offers to lease a vacant portion of its campus at $1 per year.

2004:  Mascari Warner Architects complete plans for an 8,300 square foot green facility, and a building permit is issued.

2004: Volunteers begin raising the 2 million dollars needed. They face many challenges.

2006: VIM San Diego opens its doors and begins carrying out its mission of ensuring that East County residents can access healthcare services and support. This takes place in a well-equipped temporary facility adjacent to the building site.

2007:  Volunteers keep their goal of a permanent facility in site and continue to raise funds despite the challenging economy

2008: Nearly 1,000 patients receive care

2009: VIM starts a women’s health screening clinic with a volunteer GYN doctor and nurse who provide preventive services such as mammography and pap tests.

2010: Services expand to include acupuncture and chiropractic care to help patients with pain management

2010: Volunteers increase from 15 to over 100, including a volunteer coordinator that recruits volunteers from physicians to support staff who function as an effective team. Three new board members also join the team.

2011: Patients receiving care more than triples since opening—with volunteers serving over 3,000 in need.

2012: Fundraising efforts continue and so does the amount of generosity from a growing number of volunteers. We add a psychiatrist, urologist and neurologist to our volunteer staff.  We receive a grant from the American Medical Association (AMA) to encourage healthy eating habits in our patients and create a patient/community garden, start cooking classes and grocery shopping tours by our dietician.

2013: We care for 3554 patients, with 347 new patients.  Our CEO Maureen Hartin is elected to the Board of Directors of California Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (CAFCC) – a statewide association that supports the efforts of free clinics throughout California.

2014:  CVS awards us a $30,000 grant for our GET HEALTHY program that will enable VIM patients to learn healthy eating habits, encourage exercise classes in a partnership with the East County YMCA, change generations of bad food choices and learn how to cook healthy food.

2016: VIM celebrates 10 years of caring for the uninsured in East County – we have treated over 20,000 patients



Grossmont Healthcare District Honors Healthcare Hero Volunteers

May 20, 2012 (East County Magazine) — Two volunteer physicians, two members of a community service club and a hospice volunteer were among this year’s recipients...

Latest status update here.

Latest status update here.

COME GARDEN WITH US! We have a patient/community garden where we grow vegetables and fruits.  It is a wonderful experience to learn how to grow your own food and...


Ensuring care for uninsured

San Diego Union Tribune, November 2006 By Anne Krueger STAFF WRITER November 11, 2006 EL CAJON – Ken Bagley hadn’t visited a doctor’s office in decades....


Physicians plan debut of clinic for uninsured

San Diego Union Tribune, May 2005 By Anne Krueger STAFF WRITER May 2, 2005 EL CAJON – They’ve got the doctors, they’ve got the equipment and they’ve...