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Mattapan celebrates opening of new health center

Posted by Patrick Rosso  September 10, 2012 03:30 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

Governor Deval Patrick and Dr. Azzie Young cutting the ribbon to the Mattapan Community Health Center.

It’s been decades since Mattapan Square has had its own pharmacy, let alone a high-quality health center. But on Monday, both became a reality as the community, elected officials, and health care professionals welcomed the Mattapan Community Health Center to its new home at 1575 Blue Hill Ave.

Shirley Woodroffe, 65, still remembers when the square had a pharmacy back in the 1970s and said for a community that is often lacking resources the new center will be a life line.

“It’s good to have a center like this because people don’t always have access to good insurance or health care,” said Woodroffe, a Mattapan resident since 1972. “I’m lucky, I have insurance. But for many people in the community, they need something like this.”

The new 50,000-square-foot, $34-million center, is not only an economic anchor for the square, officials say, but also an affordable alternative to the bigger and at times more expensive hospitals that can be found in the city.

“The Mattapan Community Health Center is a leader in this community,” said Vivien Morris, program director of the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, a local nonprofit working to educate the community about healthy foods and activates. “We’re all just Mattapan proud. Community health care is based on the idea that people need to take control of the community along with their health and this will contribute to that.”

At the ribbon-cutting Monday morning, elected officials and local health care professionals touted the new center as the result of what happens when a community rallies together and when government supports its constituents.

“I’m so excited by this journey and I’m so excited by the result,” Governor Deval Patrick said to the crowd. “It’s about the community. A community that deserves the highest quality health care.”

Deval, along with other local elected officials touted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which contributed close to $11.5 million to help pay for the center.

“This is what government is all about,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino told the crowd. “We’re making a difference in peoples’ lives when they go to the health center and get the best quality care.”

Boasting twice the capacity of the center’s previous location, at 1425 Blue Hill Ave., the new center can serve more patients with more exam rooms, dental rooms, parking and a bigger, better-equipped lab. The expansion will also allow for the center to offer mammograms, a first for the center and a critical component of women’s health care.

It has a CVS pharmacy and a Citizens Bank office.

“This is one of the happiest days of my life,” Dr. Azzie Young, president and CEO of the center, said to the audience, reminding them this year marks the center’s 40th anniversary. “For sustainable change to come to this community, we knew we had to work hard.”

Young thanked elected officials and supporters, telling the audience that it is the families who depend on affordable services who wil benefit most from the new center.

“Our building is all about the people inside of it,” Young told the crowd. “We broke ground on this spot two years ago, and it took more than a village to get us here.”

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

Dr. Azzie Young (right) leading Governor Deval Patrick, Mattapan City Councilor Charles Yancey and Senator Jack Hart on a tour of the new facility.


(Patrick D. Rosso/

The new facility located at 1575 Blue Hill Ave.

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