By Faye Zheng
South Cove Community Health Center (SCCHC) celebrated its 40th Anniversary Celebration in John F. Kennedy Libaray and Museum on September 8 evening with over 500 guests. Board members Dr. Herman Ging Lee and Dr. Stephen Victor Tang received Humanitarian Award.
“We thank you for your support, and we invite you to join us in moving forward in the 21st century as we continue to build on a strong foundation to provide culturally-competent, high-quality, cost-effective, and compassionate services to the Asian American communities,” said Eugene Welch, executive director of SCCHC, in opening speech, “We now have 230 staff serving 27,000 patients, with 160,000 visits each year.”
According to Welch, 75 percent of SCCHC’s patients are below the federal poverty level and over 90 percent of them speak an Asian language as first language.
SCCHC co-founders Caroline Chang and Amy Guen presented the Humanitarian Awards to board members Dr. Lee and Dr. Tang.
The first community health center in the nation, Columbia Point Health Center (CPHC), opened in 1965. At that time, Asian American immigrant population was among the most underserved populations. A community conference was organized by the Chinese American Civic Association, which is now the Asian American Civic Association, to recruit more volunteers to help advance health concerns of the Chinese Community in Boston. The Health Task Force and later the Boston Chinese Community Health Services board of directors worked to bring the CPHC model of care to Chinatown with its own unique health, cultural and language needs. As a result, SCCHC first opened its doors in 1972. Inspired by SCCHC, Herman Ging Lee and Stephen Victor Tang changed their career from engineering to medicine. Both of them have been involved with the SCCHC for over 30 years.
“For 40 years, SCCHC has been a source for inspiration and satisfaction,” Dr. Lee and his wife Fay expressed their collective thoughts about SCCHC. “We have found great personal satisfaction in our volunteer works with SCCHC. We hope that the next generation of volunteers and staff find their association with SCCHC to be as enriching as satisfying as it has been to us.”
Dr. Tang considers his involvement at SCCHC as the most fulfilling aspect of his volunteerism.
Janet Wu of WCVB-TV5 served as mistress of ceremonies. John M. Auerbach, commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Carl Isihara, Chairman of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates Board of Trustees, were the keynote speakers.
Auerbach praised SCCHC’s contribution to the community for 40 years. He considered SCCHC as “a good example to the rest of medical centers.” He also claimed that the new clinic in Quincy may be “the most beautiful health center in Massachusetts.”
Isihara shared with the audience his personal experience as an immigrant, emphasizing the importance of community health care services.
Congressman William R. Keating and State Representative Tacky Chen also joined this event. A short video introducing SCCHC’s 40 years of history was played during the celebration. Chinatown Community leaders such as Frank Chin and other supporters of SCCHC expressed their congratulations in this video.
This post is also available in: Chinese