Uphams Corner Health Center, a comprehensive health service center in Dorchester, Massachusetts, was founded in 1972, as a result of a community action to address a severe lack of health care services. Folks requiring care were lined up at the emergency room, and our community had a problem addressing the need. The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) played a big role for our facility in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During that time, we wanted to expand our dental services, and we utilized the NHSC to recruit dentists.
Today, we normally have at least one if not two employees in the NHSC Loan Repayment Program, and we would not be able to hire those individuals without the Corps. It’s an excellent recruiting tool and a real benefit to the provider. Our clinic now has dental care, home health, obstetrics, vision services, a pharmacy, and a teen clinic, among other services, and we serve 15,000 patients a year with 325 staff. In the last few decades, we’ve had approximately 20 NHSC providers. The patients and community residents greatly benefit from the Corps because without the NHSC financial support for providers, we’d be unable to hire the number of providers we need.
The NHSC meets providers’ needs and allows us to organize our services in a way in which the patients benefit. The patients have a resource— they’d otherwise have to wait much longer to receive care. They’d have to travel great distances to see a provider in another neighborhood or community. The NHSC program makes it more efficient and effective for us to deliver care.
Here, providers can expand their experience, meet an unmet need for dental and medical services, and repay their student loans. It’s an absolute winning solution for both your clients and for your center. The patients benefit, the provider benefits, and it’s a win-win situation.
The Uphams Center philosophy is that services offered take you throughout your life. We specialize in multilingual, multicultural design of our programs to make people from all walks of life make sure their service needs are met and they feel wanted and comfortable. It is about fulfilling the mission designed by the community—to live up to the mission and do it in a high-quality, low-cost, culturally-appropriate way. I think of it as a cultural bonding that has occurred where the community is very supportive of the health center in many ways and the health center reciprocates by providing the high-quality, personalized, care without regard for financial circumstances, race, or religion. It’s a very holistic approach to health care.