Serrano accepts LEAP Award from MHHC

Congressman Jose Serrano, joined by MHHC president Verona Greenland, Joseph Orlando and Montefiore Medical Center vice-president Donald Ashkenase, accepted Morris Heights Health Center’s LEAP Award. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Congressman Jose Serrano is fighting for better healthcare at home and in Washington, D.C., his supporters contend. The Morris Heights Health Center recognized Serrano’s efforts with its LEAP Award on Monday, November 23.

Morris Heights, a community-based health center at 85 West Burnside Avenue, presented the Congressman with the award on behalf of the MHHC Foundation. LEAP stands for leadership, excellence, advocacy and passion.

The MHHC Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the health center. MHHC is home to a nationally-renowned women’s health pavilion and has begun construction on a multi-generational health and housing complex, Harrison Circle. The foundation fundraises for the health center; it – secured endowments, holds events and nets grants.

“The LEAP Award is given to individuals who embody the essence of the community health center movement,” said Verona Greenland, president and CEO of MHHC. “LEAP Award recipients embody the principles of leadership, excellence, advocacy and passion [to] enhance the mission of access to affordable and quality healthcare.”

Serrano noted that healthcare has always preoccupied American legislators. President Theodore Roosevelt first suggested that something “had to be done” about healthcare, the congressman said.

“What we need to do is to make sure that everyone is covered by a healthcare program like [MHHC],” Serrano added.

The congressman explained that healthcare is government’s number one priority and number one cost. MHHC has modeled how community members can work together to offer better healthcare, he said.

MHHC considers itself a community health center, an agent for change, inclusion and quality healthcare. The center offers primary care from adult to family care, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and HIV treatment. It also offers asthma treatment, optometry, pediatric neurology and podiatry.

Greenland pointed out that, at MHHC, no one is turned away.

“Whether or not you have health insurance, you can come to Morris Heights Health Center and get treatment,” Greenland said. “Because we have individuals like [Serrano] working [for us] in Washington.”

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3383 or

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