Israel Baptist Church, Unity Health Care Partner Host a Success Grand Opening of the MLS Community Life Center and New Brentwood Health Center in Ward 5

Washington, DC, Thursday June 4, 2015—Unity Health Care, Inc. and Israel Baptist Church celebrated a successful grand opening of the Rev. Dr. Morris L. Shearin, Sr. Community Life Center (MLS Community Life Center) and Unity Health Care’s new Brentwood Health Center with more than 100 attendees on June 4.

The MLS Community Life Center is the realization of the vision of the Pastor, Rev. Dr. Morris L. Shearin, Sr., to fulfill Israel Baptist Church’s mission to “reclaim the least, the last, and the lost” by expanding its community outreach efforts. Funded in part by the Department of Housing and Community Development, the MLS Community Life Center will include space for education, recreation, event space, and health services provided by Unity Health Care at the new Brentwood Health Center. The construction of the new Brentwood Health Center was made possible by the $2.9 million Medical Home grant from the Department of Health and administered by the DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA).

“The partnership between Unity and Israel Baptist Church which brought about the new Brentwood Health Center is another example of how over the course of our 30 years in DC, Unity has recognized in order to have healthier communities you have to serve the whole person, both physical and mental,” stated Vincent A. Keane, Unity’s President and CEO, after the event.

U.S. House of Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia Phil Mendelson, DC Department of Health Chief of Staff Dr. Jaqueline Watson, and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, among many others, spoke at the event to offer their congratulations to Unity and Israel for their collaboration and dedication to bring this project to fruition. Dr. Watson reiterated the importance of the District’s health centers, as well as community health workers, to seize this opportunity to participate in the Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Fit DC and the Million Step Programs. Unity’s Park Rx Program, championed by Dr. Robert Zarr, is another tool Unity uses to promote a healthy and active lifestyle in all DC communities.

Residents of Ward 5 have long anticipated the opening of this Center in their neighborhood. DCPCA CEO Jacqueline D. Bowens encouraged attendees to utilize health centers. “The importance of health centers cannot be underestimated,” she stated. “It’s important now that you have a facility that has the capacity to serve this community and that you have access to that health care delivery by a great team of health care professionals from Unity, you get out there and take advantage and go to the doctor—or take someone in need to visit a doctor today.”

The previous health center only had eight exam rooms, compare to the new facility’s 31 rooms. Additionally, the Brentwood Health Center boasts two procedure rooms, one podiatry room, and five dental chairs. The Center will be open six days a week extended weekend and evening hours to serve more than 10,000 patients annually at 37,500 visits. 

About Unity Health Care
Unity Health Care, Inc. is DC’s largest nonprofit health and social services organization.  In 2014, Unity served more than 108,000 individuals and families from all eight wards of the District through its network of more than 25 traditional and non-traditional health care service sites.  Unity serves the most medically vulnerable DC residents – including the uninsured, working poor, homeless, and the formerly incarcerated.

About DC Primary Care Association
Founded in 1996, the DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA) is a non-profit health equity and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health of all DC residents by ensuring access to high quality primary health care–regardless of an ability to pay. DCPCA works to create healthier communities through advocacy and the development of the infrastructure to support a high quality, equitable, integrated health care system that gives every DC resident a fair shot at a full and healthy life. Our membership includes 15 community health centers and other community-based organizations, with nearly 60 health care delivery sites that serve approximately 200,000 District and suburban Maryland residents each year.

Ana Zorrilla, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator, Unity Health Care, Inc., (202) 715-7887
Natasha Duggal, Senior Development and Communications Coordinator, DC Primary Care Association, (202_-552-2312