50th anniversary of the Health Center Movement

Joint Statement

Delta Health Center and Harbor Health Services, Inc. (Geiger Gibson Community Health Center)

This year, 2015, marks the 50th anniversary of the nation’s community health center movement. At a civil rights meeting in Greenville, MS on December 11, 1964, Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, two young physicians from the Harbor School of Public Health and Tufts Medical School respectively, proposed a new model for providing comprehensive primary care in underserved areas, the neighborhood health center.   In January 1965, Drs. Geiger and Gibson approached the Office of Economic Opportunity with a proposal for two such neighborhood health centers, an urban health center in the Columbia Point section of Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, and a rural health center in the town of Mound Bayou serving rural Bolivar County in Mississippi’s delta region.

On December 11, 1965, the urban model, Columbia Point Health Center (now known as the Geiger Gibson Community Health Center) opened in the Columbia Point housing project and began seeing patients. Following the opening, the rural model, Delta Health Center, opened in Mound Bayou after overcoming numerous political obstacles.

The nation has gone on to see a great expansion of both urban and rural centers, and the Community Health Center movement is now the nation’s largest network of primary care providers. There are over 1,270 community health centers serving 23 million people at 9,000 practice sites.

Geiger Gibson Community Health Center and Delta Health Center are proud to be the forerunners of this national movement of community centered comprehensive health care services, available to all regardless of ability to pay.

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