United for Health’s mission is to provide health care and education that is accessible to our clients. We offer free acupuncture, nutritional and crisis counseling, and important resource and referral linkages to other medical and psycho-social providers.Our efforts to remove barriers to health care have paid off for our clients and our community. United for Health staff works closely with many stakeholders, clinics, and schools to intervene early with education and preventative services which reduce or eliminate costly visits to Emergency Rooms. UFH works closely with administrators, teachers, students, community organizations, and other health providers in the Bay Area at the high school and college level to reduce stress, depression, and trauma.
United for Health was created in 1991 when a group of healthcare professionals including a Social Worker, four Acupuncturists, a Family Crisis Counselor, a Nutritionist, a Psychologist, and a Nurse Practitioner came together with one common goal: to help bridge the gap in services to those who have the least access to care; at-risk youth, the unhoused, people with HIV/ AIDS, and those with pain, mental health or substance use issues.
We received the first federal grant money to do acupuncture in the San Francisco County Jail for women inmates with mental health and chemical dependency issues in 1991.
Our acupuncture clinic in the Haight Asbury District, San Francisco was the first one created to treat HIV+ street youth in 1993. UFH providers went on to establish other HIV clinics at Alta Base Hospital in Berkeley and the Tri-City Center Health Center in Fremont in 1996.
Partnering with the City of Berkeley and Lifelong Medical Care in 1995, UFH’s ongoing comprehensive care clinic was founded as the biggest community acupuncture detox clinic in the Bay Area. Our treatment on demand model of acupuncture and counseling services have been used as a gateway to bring in those noncompliant to medical, mental health and substance use care. They feel better fast with our services and then develop trust in long term treatment plans and case management utilizing primary care, housing, food security, and ongoing counseling and referrals to make their lives better.
UFH cofounded a youth specific clinic in 2000 with UC Berkeley/UCSF medical students, called the Youth Suitcase Clinic, where our staff and other volunteer health care providers give treatments to unhoused and foster care youth 14-25. UFH practitioners also provide full body acupuncture treatments at the Women’s and Coed Adult Suitcase Clinics, located in churches near the UC Berkeley campus weekly.
Since 2006, UFH has offered UC Berkeley students with ear acupuncture and counseling as they struggle with their stress, anxiety, depression, pain, trauma and substance use. Each semester UFH staff provide treatment on demand acupuncture and counseling to help with these symptoms 3 weeks before finals with our Hope on the Go Mobile Clinics.
United for Health's staff who operate our Hope on the Go Mobile Clinics have won multiple awards from the City of Berkeley, Alameda County, the American Lung Association, and the California State Senate for our acupuncture and wellness services. These include Best Nonprofit of the Year and Best Mental Health Providers several times, Best Practitioners of the Year, and Women of the Year to our Executive Director by the City of Berkeley.
Meet Our Team
Hope McDonnell, Executive Director
As an acupuncturist, herbalist and nutritional consultant, I believe in access to quality health care and food for all. I founded the Berkeley Farmers’ Market in 1980. As Executive Director of United for Health, I was named Woman of the Year and Best Mental Health Practitioner several times by the City of Berkeley for my work with unhoused adults and youth, including 2023. I also love hiking and dancing!
In Partnership With
Support United For Health
Our UFH staff has treated, trained, supervised, and mentored hundreds of students and volunteers who play a vital role at our program sites. Join us in moving forward the lives of those who need help the most in our community. United for Health depends on funding from foundations, corporations, local businesses, and caring people like you to sustain our wellness services; helping those in need to move their lives forward.
Partner With Us
United for Health’s mission is to provide health care that is completely accessible to our patients. Our services are free so there are no barriers to the essential treatment they need. We partner with city officials, community groups, and companies to expand our services and reach broader communities. Let’s connect!