West Orange, N.J. (August 15, 2018) — Zufall Health, a federally funded community health center, commemorated National Health Center Week today with a groundbreaking ceremony for a $4.5 million building that will provide a patient-centered medical home to the most vulnerable residents of West Orange. The new site at 49 Mount Pleasant Avenue will be a relocation and expansion of Zufall’s office on Northfield Avenue which opened in 2014.
“We’re excited that this new health center will give us much more space to meet the surging demand for our services,” said Eva Turbiner, Zufall’s president and chief executive officer. “ We not only will be able to increase the number of patients we treat, but will be able to expand our programs to serve them better.”
Welcoming invited guests, including elected officials, community leaders, and funders, Turbiner noted it was especially fitting to conduct the groundbreaking during National Health Center Week. Its theme this year celebrates Health Care Heroes.
“You are all our heroes,” she told the group. “If we didn’t have your support, we wouldn’t be here today.”
The new 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the art building will contain eight exam rooms, six dental operatories, and areas designated for behavioral health services, patient support and education programs, and wellness activities. Additional space will be available to host community programs and expand community partnerships.
Expected to open in 2019, it will serve 10,000 patients annually, nearly tripling the current West Orange patient population. The opening can’t come soon enough for Zufall’s chief medical and dental officers.
“Despite its perceived affluence, West Orange has a significant concentration of low-income, under-served residents desperately needing access to affordable, quality care,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rina Ramirez. “Already at full capacity, our site limits our ability to serve them.”
The need for affordable dental services is even greater, according to Dr. Sam Wakim, chief dental officer. “At times, patients must wait up to 12 weeks for dental appointments,” he said.
Beyond impacting the lives of patients, the new site will add economic value to the community. Zufall, a member of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, will bring additional job opportunities, patronage to local businesses, and savings to the healthcare system.
To fund the project, Zufall will utilize a one million-dollar grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services as well as philanthropy. A $3.5-million “Build With Us” capital campaign is underway to raise funds.