The streets surrounding the Coomsocial basic-care health clinics bustle with activity: buses and taxies pull up to curbs, trucks deliver supplies, merchants sell to throngs of customers. The clinics are a hub of all this activity. Taxi drivers, bus companies, food vendors, medical suppliers, and many other small businesses depend on the traffic of patients and goods to the clinics that help keep the people of Bello and Medellin, Columbia— and their economy— healthy.

Like a strong body, the streets around Coomsocial function with systematic regularity. Inside the clinics 150 employees treat patients, analyze tests and manage appointments. Just outside the clinic doors more than 80 people work to provide goods and services that the clinic needs to function. The clinic functions as lungs and heart, pumping economic life through the community.

The birth of this system happened almost 20 years ago when a group of doctors banded together around the common goal of providing high-quality health care while earning a living wage. Their solution, a cooperatively owned and run clinic, in Bello proved so successful that just a few years later they were able to open a second clinic in the larger urban center of Medellin. The cooperative supports a patient base large enough to attract contracts from the state-run medical system. Last year Coomsocial had responsibility for the health of 52,000 men and women in the cities of Medellin and Bello and provided 1,200,000 discrete health services and diagnostic supports such as x-rays, clinical tests, pharmacy and dentistry.

The Coomsocial members are proud of their role in supporting the physical and economic life of Bello and Medellin. The doctors and their families are patients as well as providers, so they know the exact quality of the services they stand behind. From teeth to toes, from infancy to old age, the clinics respond to health concerns that range from dentistry to gynecology. Beyond doctor visits, the clinics focus on preventative education. Patients can receive new prescriptions for their hypertension, get a new filling and take nutrition classes all at one location.

Coomsocial has not finished growing. They look forward to expanding their patient base, keeping more people healthy and providing more business and patrons for their local community.