United For Health

The Suitcase Clinic

United for Health staff founded the Youth Suitcase Clinic in 2000 along with UC Berkeley Cal Corps and ASUC student members. Today, the Suitcase Clinic has three locations, the General Clinic, the Women’s Clinic, and the Youth/LGBTQ+ Clinic.

Helping Youths Since 2000

United for Health staff founded the Youth Suitcase Clinic in 2000 along with UC Berkeley Cal Corps and ASUC student members. Our services target the 250-300 homeless youth who are living on the streets of Berkeley, ranging from ages 14-24. We offer the youth a safe, warm, youth-specific space and a wide variety of services to help them move their lives forward and improve their overall health. At the Youth Suitcase Clinic, at-risk youth can get a healthy meal, food and laundry vouchers, full-body acupuncture, and herbal and nutritional therapy. Primary medical care is given by volunteer doctors and medical students from the UCB-UCSF Joint Medical Program. Appointments and referrals for dental and optometry services are also made for the youth with some of our community partner providers.

What You Can Expect

At the Youth Suitcase Clinic, at-risk youth can get a healthy meal, food and laundry vouchers, full-body acupuncture, and herbal and nutritional therapy. Primary medical care is given by volunteer doctors and medical students from the UCB-UCSF Joint Medical Program. Appointments and referrals for dental and optometry services are also made for the youth with some of our community partner providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works by stimulating designated points on the body via the insertion of very fine needles. These points correspond with the functions of the brain, internal organs and other bodily processes as defined by the principles of Chinese medicine. The needles stimulate the blood and energy to flow, removing blockages that are causing pain or fatigue; hooking into a body wide system of pathways and meridians to start the healing process.

Does acupuncture hurt?

There’s just a slight pinch when the needle enters the skin similar to a fingernail. The needles are as thin as a hair, solid and flexible. There’s no tissue damage like the bleeding or bruising when you get a shot/IV. Treatment time is around 30 minutes because it takes a few minutes for the effects “to kick in”.

How often should you get acupuncture treatment?

Ear acupuncture can be done daily and the effects are stronger and longer lasting if done close together; which is very effective for mental health and substance use issues. Full body acupuncture treatments for acute or chronic pain should be given from 1-3 times a week, depending on the severity of the symptoms to speed up the healing process. Usually 4-10 sessions are suggested for chronic conditions.

Are the United for Health treatment services free?

Most of our services are free and covered by grants, so there is no barrier to treatment for unhoused and low- income folks. Some of our Hope on the Go Mobile Clinics ask for donations to pay for our treatment costs if not covered by grant or company money.

Can we schedule a Hope on the Go Mobile Clinic as a school, nonprofit, church or company?

Yes! We work with many nonprofits and local businesses/companies to provide care on a one time or reoccurring basis. To schedule a consultation, please contact hope.unitedforhealth@gmail.com.

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!