The Venice Family Clinic has won the 2005 Foster G. McGaw Prize for excellence in community service — one of the healthcare field’s most prestigious honors, according to Venice Family Clinic officials.

The prize was awarded to the Venice Family Clinic Tuesday, January 17th, in recognition of its leadership, hospital and community partnerships and primary healthcare services.

The Venice Family Clinic serves 22,000 low-income, uninsured and minority community members, including more than 3,000 homeless persons on the west side of Los Angeles County.

The $100,000 Foster G. McGaw award is presented each year to a healthcare organization that provides innovative programs that help improve the health and well being of the community.

The award is sponsored by the American Hospital Association, the Baxter International Foundation and the Cardinal Health Foundation.

“The Foster G. McGaw Prize recognizes healthcare organizations that demonstrate a passion and commitment to making their communities healthier and more vital,” said Susan Manilow, chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee.

“The truly inspiring work of the 2005 winner and finalists is a testament to this commitment in improving the health and quality of life of their communities.”

Launched in 1970 by volunteer physicians Philip Rossman, founder, and Mayer B. Davidson, co-founder, Venice Family Clinic first operated at night out of a borrowed dental office.

Today, the Venice Family Clinic is the largest free clinic in the nation, with a staff of 250 and more than 2,300 volunteers who help fund and deliver comprehensive primary healthcare.

“The Venice Family Clinic is unique in the breadth and depth of primary healthcare and supportive services offered to those with the least access to healthcare,” Manilow said.

“The clinic has responded to and sustained programs that address the real needs of the people it serves, and it works every day to improve the health and quality of life of the most vulnerable members of its community.”

The Venice Family Clinic collaborates with more than 70 health and social service providers, including local hospitals, professional organizations, governmental agencies and community-based organizations across Los Angeles and California.