Development Milestones


The West Oakland Health Council is organized


The West Oakland Council becomes incorporated in December 1967


The West Oakland Health Council submits an application for funding


West Oakland Health Center Opens for Service

Dr. Isaac Slaughter becomes Director of Mental Health Services


Robert Council is hired as CEO of West Oakland Health Council


Substance Abuse Treatment Services Initiated


Dr. Robert Cooper is hired as the CEO of West Oakland Health Council


Herzog Residential Substance Abuse Service Opened


Mental Health Services Initiated


East Oakland Health Center Acquired (7501 International Blvd. Oakland)


A.J. Thomas Medical Clinic Opened


William Byron Medical Clinic Opened


First Step Residential Substance Abuse Program Opened


Berkeley Adult Day Health Center Opened


New East Oakland Health Center Opens (7450 International Blvd. Oakland)


Substance Abuse Services moves to 3007 Telegraph


West Oakland Health Council becomes accredited by the Joint Commission JCAHO


First Step Residential Program Closes


Herzog Residential Program Closes


New Residential Substance Abuse Program opens 428 28th Street


Mr.  Benjamin Pettus Jr. is hired as new CEO


New Optometry Department Opens


New Pharmacy Opens in East Oakland Health Center


New Dental Department opens at the West Oakland Health Center


Mr. Preston DuFauchard is hired as new CEO

Dr. Robert Cooper, a native of the West Oakland community was initially hired as the Health Services Director in 1969, but shortly after he became the CEO of West Oakland for over 4 decades.

Dr. Cooper provided leadership to the Council and was known an advocate for comprehensive patient care, as well as a strong advocate for Health Education.  The Joint Commission of Accreditation of Health Care Organizations accredited the West Oakland Health Council in 1999. 

 In the early years of West Oakland Health Council Dr. Isaac Slaughter became the Director of Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery Programs.  Dr. Slaughter (1969 – 1995). Dr. Slaughter was a strong advocate for Mental Health issues and Substance Abuse. His voice in the community was one of respect and advocacy for what many believed was a taboo subject matter. 

Dr. Isaac Slaughter was a pioneer in this field and community. His leadership was one where he believed that mental health and substance abuse recovery services were important to address and that our community needed therapists, psychiatrist and counselors that were culturally sensitive and competent to serve our patient population. 

During 70s and 80’s West Oakland Health Council became active in Community outreach. West Oakland staff, providers and health workers were common guests to participate and community health fairs, neighborhood festivals and school based presentations. West Oakland Health Council partnered with the Oakland Unified School District by providing on sight vision and dental screenings to elementary schools in the flatlands of Oakland. In addition, the Health Education Department flourished under the leadership of Gayle Quinn, Director of Health Education. A few of the Health Education Programs that were popular in the 70’s and 80’s included:

Family Life Education – Sex Education
Dental Education & Screening

Substance Abuse Education
Vision Screening

Tobacco Education
HIV/AIDS Education & Testing

These programs and services were in high demand and became a popular request in the elementary, middle and high schools in Oakland. In addition, The Alameda County Probation Department collaborated with West Oakland to provide health education to the boys and girls camps.

West Oakland Health Council became the recipient of several county and state grants that targeted certain populations within the scope of the funding. Some of the programs included but not limited to include:

Black Infant Health Project
Child Health & Disability
Colo-Rectal Screening

Diabetes Initiative
Tobacco Cessation Program

AIDs Education Project
Every Woman Counts

West Oakland Health Council continued to thrive in the 80’s and 90’s. The Council had grown to several additional service sites. At one time, there were numerous service sites under the umbrella of the West Oakland Health Council. In the early years, mental health and substance abuse services had multiple sites in downtown and in the West Oakland zip code. 

In Spring of 2016, Mr. Benjamin Pettus Jr. was hired as the Chief Executive Officer for the Council. Mr. Pettus was instrumental in turning the Council around from a period when the Council was not sufficiently attentive to the program requirements of its federal regulator.  Mr. Pettus passed away in March of 2019.