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Our History

Serving the community for over 40 years!


Family Health Center was established as a project of the Community Action Program. In partnership with local medical providers, we provided family planning and health services for low-income individuals and families in Cowlitz County.  Our first clinics were held in the National Guard Armory and were staffed by volunteers.


Meeting needs: We moved to Hemlock Street in Longview and then incorporated as a non-profit agency.  We added WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutritional services and then moved to Vandercook Way in Longview.  After the move, we expanded services to occupy most of the building.  We leveraged community partnerships to add the First Steps program to provide maternal support and maternal case management services for at risk families.  Later, we partnered with local pediatricians, child protective services, the prosecutor’s office and law enforcement to offer centralized, child-friendly exam space for victims of sexual assault (until 2000) at the clinic. 


Primary care:  With funding from a local foundation, we expanded to provide primary care medical care at the clinic for low income individuals and families. We qualified for state funding, and then applied for and received a federal grant to expand. The clinic moved to a much larger space on 12th Avenue in Longview.  In addition to family planning and primary care, we also added a dental clinic at the 12th Avenue location.  We partnered with local health jurisdictions, the hospital, and community organizations to meet the improve oral care for low income adults in the area.


We continue to grow!  Since 2001, we have added primary care and dental in Ocean Park; primary care and WIC in Woodland; primary care in Cathlamet; and moved the finance department, WIC Program, and First Steps to Olympia Way in Longview.  We also expanded our reach in Cowlitz County, adding primary care clinics in Kelso and in Castle Rock.  We were the lead organization for outreach and enrollment efforts in Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties during the roll out of the Affordable Care Act, enrolling thousands of local residents in health insurance. In 2015, we merged with the Drug Abuse Prevention Center, which expanded our services to include substance use disorder treatment.  We improved care for special populations including translation and interpretation services, improved access for veterans; and bridging gaps in care for the homeless.  In 2016, we opened an additional primary care clinic in Longview that offers late evening and weekend appointments.

The Drug Abuse Prevention Center – Est. 1971

Originally, the Drug Abuse Prevention Center (DAPC) offered chemical dependency treatment and was funded by private donations and from the support of local guilds.  The organization became eligible for state funding in 1976 and opened an outpatient facility in 1983.  DAPC began offering treatment beds at the Toutle River Campus in 1998 and then expanded services after becoming a provider for the Cowlitz County Superior Court System’s Drug Court program.  

To meet community needs, DAPC began offering outpatient treatment, residential treatment and support services designed specifically for pregnant, postpartum and parenting women and their children.  In addition, they partnered with the local housing authority to provide supportive housing options for homeless families struggling with addiction.

DAPC’s merger with the Family Health Center in 2015 coincided with the retirement of their Executive Director, Gus Nolte.  In his last article he said “We don’t provide recovery. We provide treatment. Recovery takes place in the community.”*  That’s the legacy that we hope to continue at the Family Health Center.

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