Op-Ed | Urban Health celebrates 50 years of care

Urban Health celebrates 50 years.
Urban Health celebrates 50 years.
Photo courtesy Urban Health

Today, we at Urban Health Plan, one of the largest community health center networks in New York State, nationally renowned and recognized for providing the highest level of quality care, are immensely proud to celebrate 50 years of providing culturally and linguistically competent care to generations of families and individuals. We evolved in 1974 from a group practice to a single primary care site serving the beautiful community of the South Bronx. Our organization has grown to 12 federally qualified community health centers, 12 school-based health centers, two mental health care sites and dozens of programs serving the Bronx, Central Harlem, and Corona, Queens. Our close to 1,000 providers and associates reflect the culturally rich and diverse communities we serve and are committed to providing the highest standard of care that is free of bias and delivered with excellence.

Building on the incredible legacy of my father and our founder, Dr. Richard Izquierdo — a larger-than-life, dedicated Bronx physician with big dreams and a clear vision for what was possible — I am proud to lead a dedicated, talented, and compassionate team who live and embody the human-centric values of health equity, service, fairness, respect, and love. Yes, LOVE. We love what we do and are honored to offer a range of healthcare and social services that address the whole person. We see each patient not only through a clinical and social lens but also through a human lens —and the programs and services that Urban Health Plan offers have been created to be responsive to community needs, impact the social drivers of health, and achieve health equity.

We’re committed to leveraging innovation and technology to advance our holistic care model, and soon, Urban Health Plan will open the doors to a brand-new, state-of-the-art, 52,000-square-foot healthcare facility in the South Bronx that will expand access to quality primary care and medical specialty services. We are focused on not only increasing our reach and our ability to care for more, but through our residency, education, and training programs, we have created a pipeline for the next generation of compassionate and culturally responsive providers and public health professionals who will continue the vital work of caring for our communities. To us, this is the definition of creating healthcare access— which is so desperately needed in historically underserved communities.

Nothing makes me prouder than to lead this incredible organization. This will indeed be a year of celebration. Still, along with appreciating and marking our successes, I look forward to the work of addressing and overcoming our challenges and championing our vision into the future.

As my father would say, “The best is yet to come.”

Paloma Hernandez is president and CEO of Urban Health.

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