Cástulo de la Rocha, visionary in health care


As President and CEO of AltaMed Health Services Corporation, Cástulo de la Rocha is an enduring trailblazer in community health.

Under his visionary leadership, AltaMed has transformed from a storefront barrio clinic in East Los Angeles into the largest Federally Qualified Health Center in California, and among the top five in the nation.

De la Rocha has always understood that a community’s health is indivisible from its prosperity. In 1969, he saw a need: people in low-income neighborhoods throughout the Southland were significantly underserved by essential health resources—in fact, the Barrio Free Clinic in his neighborhood often had a line of people that wound around the block.

By meeting this one fundamental requirement, he changed the face of one community, then another, until AltaMed became one of the area’s largest health care systems, with approximately 50 medical, dental and PACE sites staffed by more than 2,800 employees, providing compassionate care to nearly 300,000 patients a year.

Over the years, De la Rocha succeeded in building an essential resource for millions of underserved residents throughout Southern California, and in the process, created a model of excellence for health centers and communities everywhere.

AltaMed’s standard of care and consistently strong financial performance has made it an exemplar of what a community-focused health center can be. AltaMed is accredited by the Joint Commission as a Patient Centered Medical Home, and the facility was recognized as #1 among the Hispanic Business Journal’s “Top 25 Nonprofits” for seven consecutive years.

De la Rocha frequently lends his expertise in aligning best practices in health care, public policy, and social advocacy. Currently, he serves on the boards of National Medical Fellowships and America’s Physician Groups (formerly the California Association of Physician Groups).

An avid believer in the healing power of art, De la Rocha has spent 30 years assembling the AltaMed Art Collection. It champions the works of emerging and established artists who reflect the history, achievements, and struggles of underserved communities, and it lives on rotating display across AltaMed’s entire clinic network.