Since it was first published in 2009, the Bronx has had the dubious distinction of ranking 62 out of 62 New York counties in the annual Robert Wood Johnson County Health Ranking health report.
Morris Heights Health Center is hoping to change that distinction with its eighth and newest Bronx Medical and Wellness Center at 1227 Edward L. Grant Highway.
MHHC maintains 30 sites in the Bronx, including school-based clinics, and serves 52,000 patients from the Bronx and surrounding boroughs.
“Somebody has to be 62, but we have been 62 for much too long in the Bronx and we are determined to move up from that,” said the organization’s vice president Claudette Phipps.
Phipps told those on hand for the ribbon cutting on Thursday, May 11, sponsored by Affinity Health, she was thrilled that the facility was finally open after years of planning.
“We’re all over the moon that this facility has finally been born,” Phipps said. “It has been in gestation for how long and today we can finally breathe a sigh of relief that it is here.”
Board member and president of Bronx Community College, Dr. Thomas Isekenegbe, said the new facility was made possible through federal grants made available through the Affordable Healthcare Act, and contains the newest, state of the art medical and dental equipment for a great healthcare experience.
The facility has a modern design aimed at patient comfort, patient education TV screens.
It offers adult and pediatric medical services, HIV counseling, testing and treatment, dental care, lab tests, health screenings and other services.
“Our goal here is to serve our community – not just a community, but our community, with the highest level healthcare services at this new facility here,” Isekenegbe said.
Interim president and CEO Dr. Lois Bookhardt-Murray thanked community members on hand, including local NYPD officers, for welcoming the new facility.
The 10452 zip code has high rates of diabetes, strokes and hypertension, Bookhardt-Murray
“We focus on serving the underserved,” she said. “Federal government has designated this location as being a medically underserved area, and we are grateful to be here. This is our mission.”
Fernando Tirado of Bronx Neighborhood Health Action Center said the Morris Heights community has been a partner in the “Not 62” campaign against obesity and diabetes through its healthy beverage zone initiative that works to curb sales of sugar-based drinks in workplaces.
“It’s really important that Morris Heights has stepped up to do something about their future state of health,” he said.
The center is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. For more information about services, go to www.mhhc.org.