Friday, April 29, 2011

North End Community Health Center marks 40 years

40 years strong: From left, Luisi, Wilson, Alan Hobbs, health center board chair, and Nicholson cut the anniversary cake.

While the MGH is celebrating 200 years this year, one of its community health centers is marking a special anniversary as well. On April 12, more than 100 individuals gathered at the North End Community Health Center to commemorate its founding in 1971.

Elaine Wilson, co-founder and first executive director of the center, provided guests an overview of the center's early history as well as its progress and growth over the years. She recalled meeting with North End residents in 1970 to discuss the need for health care services in the neighborhood. Although there had been physicians who provided care for North End residents at the time, the services often were fragmented.

Today the center provides coordinated care for approximately 8,000 patients and employs more than 100 people. It offers primary care and specialties such as pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, behavioral health services, dental care, podiatry and optometry.

Britain Nicholson, MD, MGH chief medical officer and a member of the health center's board, also spoke at the anniversary event. He described how the center has had a longstanding relationship with the MGH over several decades and became an official affiliate of the hospital in 2000. He then commended Wilson and the other board members for their dedication to meeting the health care needs of the North End community.

At the end of the celebration, James Luisi, CEO of the center, announced that the facility is being renamed North End Waterfront (NEW) Health.

"As we move into the next phase of our development, we wanted to look to the future; and we decided that we wanted a name that personified not only what community we serve but also what type of services we provide," said Luisi.

NEW Health also marked the day by hosting an open house for the community that morning and evening.

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