There was standing room only in Lynn Community Health Center’s Atrium as public officials, community members, health care advocates, and GE representatives joined health center staff for its annual National Health Center Week Celebration.
This year the national theme is “Celebrating Our Legacy/Shaping Our Future,” which for the health center this year means bidding farewell to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Scott Early, and welcoming Dr. Kiame Mahaniah to that position. “Our founders envisioned a place where people could receive fully integrated medical and behavioral health care, and we celebrate their legacy every day with the care that we give,” said Lori Abrams Berry, Executive Director.
Dr. Early, whose first medical job was in a rural health center, spoke about how the health center movement has inspired him. “Health centers are full of committed people from different disciplines working to integrate care and improve patient outcomes. More than anywhere else, it happens here in Lynn.” “Lynn has the opportunity to be a national leader in healthcare,” agreed Dr. Mahaniah. “It is the best care that anyone could receive, but it is especially our responsibility to make sure that those who live in the shadows of our communities have access to healthcare. This is a social justice issue.”
Congressman Seth Moulton congratulated the health center on its many accomplishments, and announced that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will award the health center $400,000 for behavioral health/primary care integration at the health center. “This is as an investment,” he said. “Integration is fundamental to healthcare success in Lynn and in America.” State Senator Tom McGee congratulated the health center and added “it is the people who work right here at the health center that make it a national model for care.”
Al DiLibero from General Electric, which sponsored the event, spoke about the tremendous partnership that has been achieved over the past few years with the health center. “GE has a phenomenal partnership with Lynn Community Health Center,” he said, noting the collaboration between GE employees volunteering at the health center and sharing skills-based techniques with healthcare providers.
At the close of the event, three pieces of original artwork from students at Raw Art Works were unveiled. “When it comes to shaping our future, there is nothing more important than the youth in our community,” said Berry. She introduced Mary Flannery, Founder and Kit Jenkins, Executive Director of Raw Art Works, who spoke about the 20-year partnership between the health center and RAW, and introduced the latest project, a public art project done by the Women Art Muralists Team. At the end of the event guests were invited to witness the “unveiling” of a 16-foot long “Healing Vine,” which depicts healing flowers from different parts of the world.