Círculo de Vida Cancer Support and Resource Center
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In 1992 the Cancer Support Community (CSC)
founded the Latino Outreach Project, the Bay Area's
first Spanish-language program created to provide psychosocial support to Latinas diagnosed with cancer.
In 1995 Executive Director, Dr. Carmen Ortiz, a breast cancer survivor, took over the project, and members
renamed the program Círculo de Vida.
After infusing the program with values reflective of Latinos,
such as familismo (the importance of the family unit), personalismo (the importance of warm, interpersonal relationships),
and one-to-one relationship building, Dr. Ortiz tripled the number of support group participants. Because this was the only support
group in the Bay Area, women from Oakland, San José, San Rafael, and Daly City often made the long trip into San Francisco to attend.
In 1998, after CSC integrated its services with the University of California,
San Francisco (UCSF), Círculo de Vida stayed behind to remain connected to San
Francisco General Hospital and the Latino community in the Mission District.
In 2000 Círculo began laying the groundwork to incorporate as a separate entity,
receiving non-profit status in 2003, creating a one-stop center for all Bay Area
Latinos facing a cancer diagnosis—women, men, their families and children.