Powered by a Mighty Heart, Hoag Brings Mind, Body and Spirit Together Under One Roof

To date, more than 41,000 connections have been made, establishing the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living as the heart of Hoag's community outreach.

The human heart is a muscle – and just like other muscles, it can grow larger and stronger the more it is used and exercised. We mention it because, in both symbolic and literal ways, the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living is at the heart of Hoag’s commitment to serve the Orange County community.

When the Center opened a year and a half ago, in May 2016, it ushered in a profound new concept in health care: rather than wait for someone to get sick, we conceived of a holistic health center that could potentially prevent illness by addressing the social determinants – the issues of mind, body and spirit – that can make the difference between sickness and health.

Simply put, we envisioned the Center to become the core of our comprehensive community health care outreach services. Hundreds of community members helped celebrate its grand opening, visiting its then collection of 15 nonprofit health care and social services agencies all located under one roof. Since then, the Center has gotten enormous use and – just like a heart – has grown larger and is beating stronger than ever. Today, nearly three dozen providers offer life-changing services from the Center, addressing needs as varied as family law, dentistry, fitness and spiritual wellness.

By taking such a proactive approach to community health care, we are fulfilling our promise to promote wellness and improve the quality of life for residents of Costa Mesa and the surrounding community, a region with the third-highest poverty rate in the county and the highest rate of adolescent alcohol use.

Over the past 18 months, our partner agencies have made more than 41,000 connections through the Center, cross-referring clients to increase access to physical, mental, legal and spiritual care. What this looks like is a mother bringing her children in for a vision exam and leaving with a referral for a lawyer to help with her child custody case. It looks like a father who is enrolled in ESL classes and walks down the hall to enroll in health care benefits he hadn’t known he qualified for.

As we celebrate the Center’s second year, we are building upon our early growth and successes in serving the community as we work to strengthen the synergies between our agencies. In this issue of Heart of Hoag, you’ll learn how some of those efforts are taking shape, and how they are making Hoag’s heart for those we serve larger and stronger than ever. We hope you enjoy this issue.