Inspired by the community we serve
We proudly operate two Seattle clinics started by community activists decades ago to serve neighbors in need.
CDCHC is a mission-driven health care organization dedicated to the needs of its community. Today, it operates two primary care clinics and one after-hours clinic designed to reduce inappropriate use of the emergency department.
Milestones in our history
Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center was founded in 1968 by community activists committed to the ideal that health care is a right for all people. Medical clinic services were originally part of a broad spectrum of community services that was overseen and developed by the Seattle Black Panther party.
Country Doctor Community Clinic was founded in 1971 by a group of community activists who recognized the need for medical care services in their neighborhood. Originally operating from an abandoned fire station in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Country Doctor was an all-volunteer free clinic offering services only in the evenings. As the community’s reliance on the clinic’s services grew, Country Doctor evolved into a respected primary care provider.
In 1978, the original Black Panther medical program became a freestanding community clinic, and was renamed for one of the clinic’s founders, Carolyn Downs. From 1975 until 1994, the Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center operated from a location in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle.
In order to better serve people of the Central Area, the clinic’s primary catchment area, the Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center was relocated in the fall of 1994 to a more central, visible part of the community on 21st and Yesler. This site is shared with the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic.
Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center aligned with the Swedish Family Medicine Cherry Hill Residency Program as a continuity clinic site for family medicine residents. The goal of this partnership is to serve as a pipeline to train new generations of family physicians to join the community health center workforce.
In December 2013, CDCHC opened a third clinic in partnership with Swedish Medical Group. The After-Hours Clinic at Swedish Cherry Hill is open daily to serve patients with acute medical needs that required treatment before they could be seen by their regular health care providers.