“Samahan” is a Pilipino word which means working together. It was founded in 1973 by a group of doctors and other health professionals as well as community leaders to assist ailing Filipino elders access healthcare. A small barbershop in downtown San Diego became Operation Samahan’s hub of health screening as well as informal health education gatherings. As the number grew and more Filipinos and other underserved ethnic groups accessed its services, Operation Samahan was officially incorporated in 1973 into a 501©3, nonprofit freestanding private community clinic.
More than thirty years later, what started as a community project initiated by Filipino community volunteers turned into a multi-service family health and multi-service center serving low-income families and individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds—Latinos, Filipino, Laotians, Asian and Pacific Islanders, African-American, Caucasians and refugees from the Middle East and other countries.