Various statistical analyses seem to indicate that residents of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community are plagued by a variety of serious health issues, and there are valid concerns about the lack of better quality health care facilities in the area. However, the Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center, located in the heart of the community at 1456 Fulton St., has the distinction of being the community’s major medical service provider for the past 35 years. One year ago, center relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility across the street, and to mark this change, a first anniversary dinner, called “Embracing New Beginnings,” marked the occasion.

The center’s celebration of its 35 years was held at the luxurious Glen Terrace Banquet Ball in Canarsie on April 5. The amount of community support shown was quite impressive. An air of pride permeated the atmosphere. Staff and supporters rallied around the Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center CEO Patricia Fernandez and Board Chair Jean Caston Black as they accepted a citation from borough President Marty Markowitz in recognition of their leadership skills, clarity of vision and continuous commitment to excellence, in spite of the many challenges and hardships encountered over the years.

A theme of perseverance weaved through each speech during the evening. Another citation was presented to Fernandez by the keynote speaker, Councilman Albert Vann, who reminded all that new beginnings are rooted in lessons learned from the past. He commended the staff for having the “soul” to move out of the old and embrace the new. Vann said he was especially proud of the center having achieved a high status of distinction in providing quality health care for his constituents and the neighboring communities.

Several employees received plaques for their years of unselfish service. Messages of praise from high-ranking state and city elected officials and the testimonies from patients on the quality of the many health services provided made it evident why this new, 38,000 square foot facility with the ability to serve over 20,000,00 residents is exemplary.