Banner-University Medicine and El Rio Health announce community health partnership


Soraya Marashi


Banner-University Medicine Tucson and El Rio Health are partnering to deliver integrated, comprehensive healthcare by creating an additional El Rio Health location in Tucson.

Through this unique partnership, Banner-University Medicine’s South Campus Abrams Clinic will transition to a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) site, operating under the leadership of El Rio Health.

The Abrams Clinic is housed in a building owned by Pima County, located at 3950 S. Country Club Rd Suite 130, within the Abrams Public Health Center. Banner-University Medicine Tucson affiliated physicians, nurses and other clinical care team members have served more than 14,000 unique patients and provide more than 36,000 patient visits per year within the site.

The mission of El Rio Health is to improve the health of the community through comprehensive, quality, compassionate, accessible, and affordable healthcare. El Rio Health’s integrated care model at this location will include medical care as well as laboratory services, registered nurse care coordination navigators and behavioral health services.

“Although we care for all populations, El Rio Health provides care for some of the most vulnerable and fragile in our community. In addition to providing access to an integrated model of care, through this unique partnership, our medical, as well as other health professionals, will have the opportunity to collaborate around community-based research and academics more closely with Banner-University Medicine and the University of Arizona,” said Nancy Johnson, RN, El Rio Health CEO.

In partnership with Banner-University Medicine and the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine, Family and Community Medicine residents will continue to train in the new center.

“We believe this change enables us to better serve our shared patient population in the community. Having the ability for our residents and faculty to work in an FQHC model of care prepares them to better address the broader health care needs of a diverse population and address social determinants of health, a key driver of clinical outcomes,” said Chad Whelan, MD, president of Banner-University Medicine.

“This innovative venture recognizes the strengths of each entity encompassing the Department of Family and Community Medicine’s commitment to community engagement and El Rio’s focus on integrated and comprehensive care to improve the health of the patients we serve,” said Kristen Rundell, MD, University of Arizona Family and Community Medicine Department Chair.

To learn more about the new El Rio Health Abrams Health Center, please visit

This press release was provided by Banner Health.