In 2020, Lowell Community Health Center celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary. One way we honored the Health Center’s legacy was by celebrating the people we’ve served, the people who have served, and those in the community who have sustained us for five decades. Throughout the year, we shared many of their stories with you — one each week.
A little over a year ago, we began our 50 Stories for 50 Years by recalling the song “Seasons of Love,” from the musical Rent, which asks, “How do you measure a year?” We imagined that song to be the soundtrack of our anniversary year, capped by confetti and a big, bold community celebration that was filled to the brim with laughter, nostalgia, and hope for the future. We could never have imagined the reality of the year that lay ahead.
Still, we managed to celebrate our history. And 50 Stories was a key part of that. At first, we weren’t sure how to continue. How would people respond to these stories in a world suddenly re-defined by isolation and uncertainty? As it turns out, sharing these inspiring, heartwarming, and hopeful personal experiences were just what the doctor ordered.
It all began with a bold idea. That everyone deserved access to quality health care.
Your community health center is rooted in the belief that everyone in Greater Lowell deserves access to quality, affordable health care.
In 1965, the national community health center movement launched as part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty. The first two CHC’s were located in Boston’s Columbia Point neighborhood and in rural Mississippi.
Planting the seed in Lowell
In 1970, the movement came to Lowell. That was when Lowell General Hospital (LGH) established a small, community-based clinic in an apartment at the Shaughnessy Terrace public housing complex. The clinic focused on prenatal and pediatric care, all easily accessible to residents.
Photo caption: Lowell CHC employees during the early years (top) and an artist rendering of the Shaughnessy Terrace public housing complex, site of our first clinic in 1970 (bottom).