The Mattapan Community Health Center celebrated its 16th annual Health Care Revival on Saturday morning on the lawn of the Foley Senior Residences on River Street. With gospel music playing in the background, and a variety of tents offering different health care screenings and information, the revival not only catered to the community’s health needs, but its spiritual needs as well.
Following greetings and acknowledgements from Dr. Azzie Young, president and CEO of MCHC, and board chair Christopher Brandon, the revival opened with prayers and scripture readings from members of Mattapan churches, including Rev. Ruthenia Tukes and Rev. Gary Adams from Morning Star Baptist Church.
Keeping with the health and spiritual components of the day, Rev. Adams said, “I pray that we recognize the link between mind, body and spirit, and know that to neglect one is to affect the others.”
Dr. Young, who has been president of MCHC for 16 years, said the first health care revival in 1997 was established in response to Mattapan’s infant mortality rate, which was more than twice that of the city of Boston.
“I am so happy, honored and pleased to tell you that today, with the last reporting period, infant mortality in Mattapan is lower than Boston,” Dr. Young said. She also said that the focus on early and continuous prenatal care makes a difference, and that pregnant women should be vitamin D sufficient.
Keynote speaker Vivien Morris recognized that it was the leadership of Dr. Young that not only made the revival possible, but the opening of a new health center as well.
“Dr. Young is truly a visionary who gets things done,” Morris, program director of the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition said, “Just witness our lovely new health center.” Morris said the community could appreciate the new facility because “we know what it takes to provide top-quality medical care when our old facility was not all we wanted it to be.”
Even though she grew up in rural North Carolina, Morris said she was “Mattapan proud,” and thanked the health center for its “outstanding and unwavering leadership” in making positive changes to all areas of health in Mattapan. She also said the revival was the highlight of her year.
The sentiment was one that was echoed by several other attendees. Pam Jones, director of policy and planning at the Boston Public Health Commission, said this was her third year at the health care revival. “Once you come to one, you’re hooked,” she said.
Sandra Robins, a Mattapan resident for over 20 years, said it was her first time coming to the revival, but that she would definitely come next year. “It’s nice to see everyone come out and come together like this to learn about health,” she said.
Gloria Green, who works the front desk at MCHC, said it was important for residents to come out so they could learn about the services they can get from the health center. “We are a community-based health center, we service the community, so that’s why we do this every year.”