The Los Angeles Plaza Community Center (PCC), an early twentieth-century Los Angeles community center and clinic, published El Mexicano, a quarterly newsletter, from 1913 to 1925. The newsletter’s reports reveal how the PCC combined walk-in medical visits with broader efforts to address the overall wellness of its attendees. Available records, some with occasional clinical details, reveal the general spectrum of illnesses treated over a twelve-year span. Placed in today’s context, the medical care given at this center was simple and minimal. The social support it provided, however, was multifaceted. The center’s caring extended beyond providing medical attention to helping with education, nutrition, employment, transportation, and moral support. Thus, the social determinants of health (SDH), a prominent concern of present-day public health, was a concept already realized and practiced by these early twentieth-century Los Angeles Plaza community leaders. Such practices, although not yet nominally identified as SDH, had their beginnings in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century social activism movement aiming to mitigate the social ills and inequities of emerging industrial nations. The PCC was one of the pioneers in this effort. Its concerns and successes in this area were sophisticated enough to be comparable to our current intentions and aspirations.

This content is only available via PDF.