By John Bonner
CommuniCare Health Centers’ Lorraine Lunden has been working with patients and knowing she is making a difference in their lives for more than three decades. She is CommuniCare’s longest-tenured employee and, in December, marked her 35th anniversary — the only staff member to reach this milestone.
The CommuniCare Health Centers faculty recognizes Lunden as a tireless team player with a ready smile and positive attitude.
“I have valued being part of something innovative — health care for all — and part of an agency that is helping the community become stronger,” said Lunden, when asked recently to describe her experience working at CommuniCare. “Laughing with my co-workers, sharing a difficult moment with my patient, relief at finding that a referral worked out — those are priceless moments that keep me going strong.”
Lunden joined CommuniCare in 1978, when she worked at what was then known as the Davis Free Clinic in downtown Davis.
Bilingual in English and Spanish, she began her career at the clinic as a volunteer in the Women’s Health Clinic, later accepting the position of coordinator of that program.
Lunden enrolled in the Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Program at UC Davis while continuing to volunteer at the clinic. Upon graduation, she returned to CommuniCare to rejoin the staff as a primary care provider, handling physician assistant duties at both John H. Jones Community Clinic and at Davis Community Clinic.
When asked by CommuniCare founder Dr. John H. Jones why she came back when she could have gone anywhere, she replied, “My heart is here.”