In 1972, Francis J. Curry, MD founded the North of Market Health Clinic, a primary health care center for low-income seniors living in the Tenderloin. A director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health and native San Franciscan who grew up in this neighborhood, Dr. Curry brought together Health Department colleagues to address a grave problem – the growing isolation and premature deaths of Tenderloin seniors.
Dr. Curry and colleagues had found that low-income, frail seniors were terrified to leave their apartments or residential hotel rooms to visit a doctor or even to buy groceries. As a result, isolated seniors were dying unattended from illnesses – some brought on by malnutrition – that were often curable if patients were seen and treated early.
Realizing that medical care was only one element contributing to good health and quality of life, Dr. Curry created a partnership to provide social services for seniors as well.
As programs were added, the building that housed the agency headquartered at 333 Turk Street became too small to accommodate increasing numbers of clients and staff. Some programs were relocated to rented sites nearby. Then, when the building next door at 315 Turk Street became available in 1999, the Board of Directors decided to buy and renovate it, and to consolidate programs into one location.
Throughout our history, Dr. Curry’s mission statement has been our driving force. So in the spring of 2003, after 30 years as North of Market Senior Services, we renamed our agency the Curry Senior Center, in honor of Dr. Curry and his abiding wisdom and compassion.