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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Roots of a movement take hold in Boston and Mississippi

H. Jack Geiger, MD, MSciHyg, Community Health and Social Medicine, City University of New York Medical School, City College of New York, Harris 401, 138th Street at Convent Avenue, New York, NY 10031, 212-650-6860, jgeiger@igc.org

In November 2005 Boston, home to the first community health center in the nation, hosted the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the Columbia Point Health Center by Drs. Jack Geiger and Count Gibson, thus giving birth to the community health center movement in this country. Community health centers emanated from the war on poverty programs, the result of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, promoting social justice and economic opportunity. Dr. Geiger's observation of one of the realities of the American health care system that “the poor get sicker and the sick get poorer,” formed his belief that the elimination of poverty is essential to improving the health status of a community. It is not by chance that today community health centers, as crucial safety net providers find themselves at the forefront of the leading civil rights issue of the 21st century … ensuring health access, equity and justice for vulnerable populations, and the elimination of persistent disparities in health of racial and ethnic minority populations of our society.

Dr. Geiger will discuss the roots of the community health center movement and the activism of the sixty's that resulted in the Johnson era “War on Poverty” programs including community health centers. He will document the history and the involvement of community leaders in advocacy for accessible, quality services and the struggle for human rights. He will address the need for increased advocacy and activism in public health efforts to eliminate health disparities.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Community Health Centers, Human Rights

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Community Health Center Movement: 40 Years Promoting Social Justice and Health Equity for the Underserved

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA