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Arlington Free Clinic gets another salute for 30th birthday

Legislative resolution honoring safety-net organization had been passed by General Assembly
Shown from left are state Sen. Barbara Favola; Sharon Golden, a 30-year volunteer at the clinic who has been with the organization since the start; Del. Patrick Hope; Free Clinic CEO Lesley Daigle; Del. Alfonso Lopez; and Del. Adele McClure.

The Arlington Free Clinic on June 24 received a resolution, approved by the General Assembly, saluting the social-safety-net provider’s 30th anniversary.

Supporting about 1,400 clients from offices in the Columbia Pike neighborhood, the clinic’s services over the decades have expanded from rudimentary to comprehensive. In addition to the organization’s staff, a corps of approximately 350 volunteers, including some who have been with the organization since its start, provide services.

Those volunteers range from physicians and other medical professionals to interpreters (60% to 70% of patients are Spanish-speaking, with other well-represented languages including Mongolian and Amharic).

“Our model is to be a health-care home [where] all of the needs can be taken care of in one place,” Lesley Daigle, the organization’s CEO, said at a recent presentation to a local service organization.

Despite expansion of initiatives to support those with low incomes or facing other barriers to health care, free-clinic leaders estimate that between 4,000 and 7,000 Arlington residents fall through gaps in program eligibility and rely on services like they provide.

“There is no foreseeable future where we would not need the Arlington Free Clinic,” Daigle said.

A 30th-anniversary celebration is slated for Oct. 19, with special events taking place throughout the year. For information about the organization, and volunteer opportunities, see the Website at