FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       
August 23,2011
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Grant Funds New Primary Care Health Center in Eastern North Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA – During National Health Center Week, August 7-13, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced  $28.8 million in grants to 67 community health center programs across the nation, including one that will develop a new health center in Eastern North Philadelphia through a partnership between Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and Congreso de Latinos Unidos (Congreso). Through this new venture, PHMC and Congreso will work together to address health care access barriers faced by low-income residents of the area surrounding the new health center, to be located at 216 West Somerset Street in the 19133 zip code of Philadelphia.  This is a significant expansion of the services PHMC already provides, including its work as the Health Care for the Homeless grantee in Philadelphia, as well as the services that Congreso has provided this underserved community for more than 34 years.  “We’re thrilled to work with Congreso and PHMC’s affiliate, National Nursing Centers Consortium, to serve a community that faces significant barriers to health care access,” says PHMC president and CEO Richard J. Cohen. “This new health center will ensure comprehensive, culturally appropriate health care.”

Currently, Congreso serves 15,000 low-income people in the surrounding area through education, employment assistance and health promotion. The area of the new community health center site has been classified a Medically Underserved Area by US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.  Twenty percent of the residents are uninsured and 54% live below the poverty line, while 82% have incomes under 200% of the federal poverty level. “Congreso’s ability to augment our health services by now providing primary care services has a direct impact on our efforts to overcome educational and employment barriers,” says Congreso President and CEO Cynthia Figueroa. “This was the missing component of our comprehensive health services, which include a family planning clinic, teen pregnancy and parenting programs, nutrition, childhood obesity, HIV/AIDS supportive services, and behavioral health options, amongst others.” Area residents suffer greater than average health disparities compared with those in other Philadelphia neighborhoods, including higher rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, teen births, late prenatal care, poor birth outcomes, child and adult asthma and depression.

Since 2009, Congreso has organized a community advisory board whose purpose was to plan the health center, making recommendations on hours of operation, community outreach, and other aspects that would ensure access. Advisory Board Member Jose Gonzalez shared, “I'm so happy because there are so many people in this community that need to seek medical care and need their medications and can't get help anywhere...our community will be very happy when Congreso has a health center."

Presently, the city of Philadelphia’s health centers reach an estimated 49% of the area’s low income residents, leaving more than 116,000 people without access to affordable, quality, timely care. The new center will reach an estimated 3,000 patients per year, provide both primary care and behavioral health care in an integrated model, and ensure patients also benefit from the many education, employment, and other social services already provided by Congreso, PHMC and the agencies’ many partners throughout the area.

Currently, PHMC’s Federally Qualified Health Centers serve diverse and often vulnerable populations, including the homeless, persons with HIV/AIDs, and people living in public housing. Three PHMC health centers, PHMC Health Connection, Rising Sun Health Center, and Mary Howard Health Center recently gained national recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance by receiving the designation of Patient-Centered Medical Homes.


About PHMC

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce.  PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit

About Congreso de Latinos Unidos

Founded in 1977, Congreso’s vision is to transform the lives of Latinos in Eastern North Philadelphia, by moving them up the economic ladder and, ultimately, out of poverty. The agency accomplishes this by assisting clients in achieving education credentials and employment, while providing support to remove social and health barriers and emphasizing cultural identity. Congreso served more than 15,000 individuals in FY11 through its education, employment, health and safety programs.