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In remembrance of a champion

8-25-10 Feature Story:

Senator Kennedy arrived at Columbia Point in 1966. He was a member of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee and on a fact-finding mission to see what the first health center in the nation was all about. Reportedly, he was so energized by what he saw that he tracked down the founding physicians of the center -- Jack Geiger and Count Gibson -- to interrogate them about this new health care model, a model that not only brought services to the people, but asked them what those services should be.

That fateful visit in 1966 would seal Senator Kennedy’s role as the "Father of Community Health Centers." The Senator went back to Congress to tell his colleagues about a revolution in health care that had the ability to expand access to health care for medically undeserved people living in the nation's cities, towns and rural enclaves. Shortly thereafter, Ted Kennedy led creation of the federal program that today supports 1200 community health centers serving 20 million patients through 7,500 delivery sites across the country.

As we mark the first anniversary of the passing of our champion, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, let us not forget the power of a single advocate to change the course of history one community at a time.

Click here to read an article by Dan Driscoll, the president and chief executive officer of Harbor Health Services Inc. "Saying goodbye to the godfather of the community health center movement". 9/10/09. Baystate Banner.

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