Since 1996, Catherine’s Health Center (CHC) has been providing medical care to those in need. A long history of selfless giving was inspired by Catherine McAuley, an Irish nun, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, after whom the clinic is named.
In reaction to the closure of the Kent County Health Department’s Creston Neighborhood Well-Child Clinic, a new partnership was born. In 1996 St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Alphonsus Church, and the Creston Neighborhood Association established Catherine’s Health Center to provide health care for those people who were left without and who could not find a primary care physician.
For the first few years, Catherine’s was a nurse-run clinic offering immunizations, health education, and free screenings for children, with intermittent physician support from St. Mary’s
And while the health care needs of the community grew, it was realized that Catherine’s would need to grow too. In 2000, Catherine’s welcomed her first regularly-scheduled physician appointments for free medical services. In 2005, Catherine’s was officially established as an Independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
As the uninsured population grew in our community, Catherine’s began to experience overcrowding. In response to turning away as many as 30 patients each day, in 2009, the Opening Doors capacity-building campaign was initiated to raise funds for moving out of the church’s basement and into a larger space.
In January of 2011, after much hard work, dedication, and generous support from donors and volunteers, Catherine’s $1.275 million “Opening Doors Campaign” proved successful. Relocating from its original basement quarters to a Gold LEED® certified, renovated section of the former St. Alphonsus School, Catherine’s more than tripled its space. Benefiting from updated and expanded facilities, Catherine’s has been able to develop new office practices, bring on more volunteers, accept new patients, increase programing capacity and add eye-care to its list of services offered.
Once a health clinic only open a couple of afternoons a week, Catherine’s Health Center currently provides MD (Medical Doctor), NP (Nurse Practitioner), and PA (Physician Assistant) services 5 days a week. With a growing staff and volunteer base, Catherine’s now continues to work diligently to provide free and low-cost medical services to more than 5,000 patients a year.