Medical center, once in the south Bronx, relocates to West Farms

Elected offcials and staffers help cut the green ribbon on the brand new West Farms Center, relocated from the Jerome-Belson Center in the south Bronx.
Photo by David Cruz

Something old is new again.

On the day the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, a brand new medical center for cerebral palsy set up shop in West Farms.

The Jerome-Belson Center, once a 30-year staple in Melrose, has relocated to a high-tech 50,000 square foot medical facility in West Farms.

Re-named the West Farms Center and Metro Community Health Center, the facility officially opened on Thursday, June 28.

Though the building had already been up and running for several months, the ceremony gave members of the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State an opportunity to give the center a more appropriate opening, complete with a musical presentation.

They were joined by families and lawmakers in cutting the appropriately green ribbon, an eco-friendly symbol of the facility’s LEED certification.

“Here in the heart of the borough… God’s work is being done and in this building God’s work is going to continue,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., adding the new center is another example of the Bronx’s building boom.

Both centers offer an array of services for people with disabilities, including dental care, counseling and physical therapy. One of its primary focuses is treating those with cerebral palsy, a neuromuscular condition that impairs movement, learning and the five senses.

“This really will be a place to get medical attention,” said Susan Constantino, head of the CPANYS, which provided the $12 million needed to fund the center.

The facility, equipped with a day program for nearly 200 people, has helped Bronxites like Qura Martinez of Longwood, whose son Franklin has Downs Syndrome.

Fifteen years ago Martinez tried enrolling her son into several day programs only to be turned down. Once she found Jerome-Belson, Martinez said they “rolled out the red carpet for [her] son.” She was even more thrilled to see the new clinic’s upgrades.

“This is the best thing that ever happened to me,” she said.

Franklin has now been able to cope with the condition, having learned to brush his teeth and bathe on his own.

Gwendolyn Lawson of Belmont couldn’t thank the facility enough for helping her son Lamar live a full life with cerebral palsy. She was equally impressed by the large-scale facility.

“The old place had very limited space,” said Lawson.

For giving her son a more comfortable life, Lawson volunteers for the medical center, setting up workshops for patients.

As the clinic settles in, it’s also going through the process of qualifying as a federally-qualified health center, which would cover the cost for patients who can’t afford health care.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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