Great Brook Valley Health Center, Inc. (GBVHC) was founded in 1972 by seven women who were seeking better access to health care for their families. These women lived in the largest public housing complex in Worcester and relied on the hospital emergency room for care. As a result, they did not have access to regular, preventive, and primary care services for their families. They founded a corporation, obtained space from the Worcester Housing Authority, and negotiated for a Nurse Practitioner to come to the Valley. Over time the Health Center grew to meet the increasing demand for medical care from residents of the neighborhood and from around the city of Worcester. As needs were identified, the Health Center hired staff, obtained funding, and started new services and new sites to better serve the diverse population of Central Massachusetts. We built a new facility, still located across the street from the Great Brook Valley public housing complex, where we serve patients from over 100 communities in Central and MetroWest Massachusetts.
In response to a concerted community effort to address the lack of access to primary medical care for low income and uninsured individuals and families, Great Brook Valley Health Center was asked to prepare an application to the federal Department of Health and Human Services to open a community health center in Framingham. The application was funded and Framingham Community Health Center (FCHC) opened its doors at 19 Concord Street in Framingham in March 2004. FCHC started out in a storefront facility with only four exam rooms. Within two years the need for health services far outgrew this small space. While working with the town on permitting issues for a larger space for the health center, the center leased two additional storefronts. One site opened for medical services in December 2006, and the other for dental in June 2007.