Zufall Health Cuts Ribbon on New Home in West Orange
15,000-Square-Foot Building Expands Capacity for Community’s Underserved
On Thursday, December 14 before a large, supportive crowd, Zufall Health unveiled its new, state-of-the-art facility at 49 Mount Pleasant Avenue in West Orange. The event marked the long-awaited completion of Zufall’s first-ever ground-up construction project.
Zufall leaders, including President and CEO Frances L. Palm, MPA, Board Chair Michael O’Donnell, JD, and Former President and CEO Eva Turbiner, along with West Orange Mayor Susan McCartney, expressed their excitement for reaching this milestone.
Palm emphasized that the new building will significantly expand clinical capacity. Relative to Zufall’s office at 95 Northfield Avenue, “this facility will allow us to double our medical capacity, triple our dental capacity, and bring all of our West Orange operations under one roof…and we are thrilled to continue to expand our contribution to the economic vitality of West Orange,” Palm said.
Despite the town’s reputation for affluence, Zufall has seen a significant surge in demand since opening on Northfield Avenue in 2014. O’Donnell reported that patient numbers have grown from 1,900 in 5,000 visits during the first full year of operation to 5,000 patients receiving care in 17,000 visits this year.
The new building, designed by Carminio Architecture and constructed by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, responds to the area’s growing need for affordable and accessible health care services. The three-story structure features eight medical exam rooms, six dental operatories, behavioral health consult rooms, patient education and wellness activities areas, laboratory services, dispensary, and a demonstration kitchen. It is conveniently located near West Orange’s downtown, senior housing, and New Jersey Transit bus stops.
“It exceeds my wildest expectations. I’m blown away,” said founder Robert Zufall, MD, who, at 99 years old, still serves on the Board of Directors. Compared to the single room in Dover where he established the health center more than 30 years ago, “this is more beautiful, more modern, more lovely.”
The impressive facility became a reality thanks to the philanthropic support of many, Palm said, including the Healthcare Foundation of NJ, Delta Dental Foundation, Partners for Health Foundation, the Zufall family, Hyde and Watson Foundation, and the family and friends of Dentist and Dental Residency Director Howard Rappoport, DDS. Their generosity was especially vital during the challenges of the pandemic, supply-chain disruptions, and unforeseen delays in the construction process.
Turbiner, who remained a consultant after her retirement in February, was acknowledged for her leadership in guiding the health center through the project.
“I believe our patients will be very excited to get their care in this space…[It is] beautiful and new…a building that is sunny, happy, and welcoming. And that’s what we always want to convey to our patients. You may not have insurance, you may be treated disrespectfully in other areas of your life, but you will always be treated respectfully here,” said Turbiner.
The ceremony concluded with guided tours and a reception in the building’s demonstration kitchen. Zufall expects to end 95 Northfield Ave operations and begin welcoming patients to 49 Mount Pleasant Ave in early 2024.
Top photo: Zufall Health leaders and friends join together for the ceremonial ribbon cutting in front of 49 Mount Pleasant Avenue. Left to right: Pamela Scott – Executive Director, Partners for Health Foundation; Dominic Lore – Project Manager, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, Sarah Kalra – Grants Director, Hyde and Watson Foundation; John – Superintendent, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company; Aura Villa – Board Member, Zufall Health; Aldo Carminio – Principal, Carminio Architecture; Linda Seeley – Board Treasurer, Zufall Health; Bill Shuler – Board Member, Zufall Health and Board President, Zufall Health Foundation; Eva Turbiner – Former President and CEO, Zufall Health and Secretary, Zufall Health Foundation; Keith Libou, DMD – Chief Clinical Officer, Delta Dental of New Jersey; Robert Zufall, MD – Founder and Board Member – Zufall Health; Michael O’Donnell, JD – Board Chair, Zufall Health; Fran Palm – President and CEO, Zufall Health; Susan McCartney – Mayor, West Orange, George McLaughlin, DMD – Board Member, Delta Dental of New Jersey; Tammy Williams – President, West Orange Town Council, Kathleen Smith – Program Director, Partners for Health Foundation. Photo Credit: Hal Brown