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Brookside Community Health Center (BCHC) Executive Director Paula McNichols remarked “I really know how to throw a birthday party!” as she kicked off the official unveiling of the newly renovated and expanded BCHC on Friday, April 25.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts); Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino; BWH President Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, MBA; BCHC staff and employees and representatives of the Jamaica Plain community were on-hand to celebrate the completion of the project, which provided for new exam and physician consult rooms, new space for dental and family services, renovated patient waiting areas, and an upgrade of the electrical, heating, plumbing and air-conditioning systems.
McNichols was greeted by thunderous applause as she took center stage, recognizing key contributors who helped make the two-year, $5.3 million renovation project possible, while explaining that BCHC remained open throughout construction, caring for some 1,400 new patients during that time.
“This project has been a labor of love for our caregivers, staff, and our patients,” said McNichols. “We all share a vision for a healthier community, and this new facility will help us make our vision a reality.”
Mayor Menino next offered a few words resolving that BCHC contributes more than just health care to the Jamaica Plain community. “Brookside has always had an amazing vision, understanding who they serve and making it their mission to give individuals a voice,” said Menino. “This health center is a friendly place to come where the people genuinely care.”
Offering congratulations, Gottlieb confirmed BWH’s commitment to the health center saying, “At a time when all hospitals are struggling to meet their community commitments, BWH and Partners HealthCare are delighted to invest in improving our neighborhood health center. Brookside is the soul of what we, as health care providers, strive to achieve every day.”
To conclude the opening ceremony, BCHC’s community room was dedicated to and named for Senator Kennedy in recognition of his vision, commitment and enduring legacy to community health centers and the people they serve.
“Jefferson said, ‘an institution is a shadow of those who nurture and care for it,’” said Senator Kennedy, who helped cut the ribbon at BCHC’s opening in 1975, nearly 30 years ago. “So, thank you to Brookside staff and employees for what you represent and all that you do. I am honored to have this room dedicated in my name.”
The ceremony concluded with a ribbon cutting at the front entrance. A reception in the newly dedicated Edward M. Kennedy community room followed the ceremony.