A dramatic change for Mattapan Facility

The Mattapan Community Health Center is ready to go to work on its expansion plans now that it has $11.5 million in federal stimulus funds to make things happen.

Dr. Azzie Young, president and CEO of the center was quick to react to the announcement of the grant award: “It is long overdue and our community is much deserving.

The new center will feature twice as many exam rooms, twice as many dental units, and will offer triple the number of parking spaces. No longer will Mattapan resident/patients have to circle the congested Blue Hill corridor in search of parking to make use of the health center, which will be relocated to Mattapan Square.

Center services, especially the pediatric and adolescent departments, are used a great deal because for many, the clinic is the closest healthcare provider. With the new center, the services will expand to meet the relevant needs. “We are working to have onsite mammography screenings and we will also expand our pediatrics and adolescent health services,” said Young. “So all of those things will happen to increase access to the healthcare.”

The center’s hopes of introducing new services, like behavioral health programs, are high with Young and her staff acutely aware of the dangers of mental illnesses and their potential connection to the Mattapan neighborhood’s sense of safety.

“One of the things I always like to bring to light,” said Young, “is that we’ve lost three of our young patients in the past three years due to mentally ill relatives.”

The new health center will be working with Boston Medical Center to provide up-to-date services on mental health assessments and counseling. “We aren’t saying that we’d be able to stop every single incident, but if the service is available in the community, we are very optimistic that we can make an impact there.”

The Health Center’s board has another thing to be happy about: increased revenue going forward from the new building’s retail tenants, which will also mean more employment opportunities for Mattapan-area residents.

“It means revitalization, a renaissance, a reinvigorating of the entire community,” said young. “We will have jobs created. We will also have a new building in the area. All of that will lift our spirits and have us redouble our efforts to build a healthcare community.”

Construction could begin as soon as the spring and take about 12-15 months to complete if all goes well.