Before the summer heat started warming up Wednesday morning, Northside Community Health Center in northwest Fort Worth got a brand new name on its building. To honor a $1M gift from The Morris Foundation, the new name is The Morris Foundation Building. While the unveiling and dedication of the facility were limited due to social distancing requirements, the community family medical practice will be able to provide care for an unlimited number of folks in Fort Worth and Arlington thanks to the donation. Here’s a report from the field:
North Texas Area Community Health Centers (NTACHC) changed plans and held a virtual event to dedicate the Northside Community Health Center on Wednesday, July 15, though a few key guests were allowed to be there.
The occasion was a gift of $1 million from Fort Worth’s The Morris Foundation to rename the building in support of NTACHC’s mission of providing healthcare for the medically underserved. Before the remarks, NTACHC CEO Gerrie Whitaker greeted and thanked The Morris Foundation trustee Andy Miller as he played a key role in making this partnership possible. Chief Medical Officer Dr. LaTasha Jarrett and Miller talked about the programs they were planning to bring health and wellness to the forefront of the community.
NTACHC’s board President Dr. Carlos Morales removed his mask and spoke first. “Thank you everyone for being here this morning for this very special occasion. Today, we are honored to have Todd Liles, executive director and trustee for The Morris Foundation as we unveil the new name of our Northside Community Health Center building.
“Todd and the Trustees of The Morris Foundation are an incredible partner for North Texas Area Community Health Centers, or NTACHC as we affectionately call ourselves. The Foundation has not only helped us greatly with a $1 million gift to our capital campaign, but – we are proud to say—and we do often – that The Morris Foundation continues to help us tremendously with the health and wellness of our patients.
“Our patients are some of the most vulnerable in Tarrant County. You all believe in our patients and helping with their healthcare challenges. The support of the Foundation has allowed us to provide much needed assistance for many who face the daily challenges of staying healthy. We owe The Morris Foundation Trustees, and especially Todd Liles, our immense gratitude for this wonderful gift to our capital campaign and for this invaluable partnership.”
Liles said, “Thank you for having me here. All too often those who are most vulnerable wait until the last minute to get urgent care. But what we don’t have is a strong wellness program. We were excited to learn that North Texas Area Community Health Centers was building a new center on the north side of Fort Worth. And we knew we wanted to be a part of that building of the new structure.
“But when our head of healthcare and social services giving, Andy Miller, got to know Dr. Jarrett who’s leading this facility, we learned that you have a passion for wellness and that it was not going to be satiated with a ‘one size fits all’ for wellness, but she wanted something better. That’s what we do at The Morris Foundation. We look to innovative strategies and effective management that we can partner with to help improve and move the needle for these communities.
“You can’t have a happy and productive life if you don’t have wellness at the center. We are excited about the innovative process that Andy, Dr. Jarrett and the teams will be working on to make sure we have the outcomes that this community deserves.
“We look at it at a three workstream process that we would be engaged in now and over the years both in funding and expertise. Working together, we let data-driven information help us improve the healthcare of this community. We hope to expand the wellness program to include dental and vision. We’re excited about this partnership because we think it will last for many years.”
Morales and Liles unveiled the sign in gold lettering placed above the main entrance for all to see when they enter.
This gift was part of a $15.3 million capital campaign, led by U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, to build a new 34,000-square-foot Northside Community Health Center to better serve the medically underserved area. Primary care services include adult care, pediatric care, women’s health, and behavioral health, along with pharmacy, labs, diabetes management, health education and wellness.
In 2018, the Northside Community Health Center opened. The new Center was welcomed by the Northside community, Fort Worth and Tarrant County as it offered an environment that is family-friendly, hospitality focused, and promotes patient wellness. NTACHC currently sees approximately 13,000 individuals per year with the capacity to see an additional 7,000 in its new facilities.
* Photo credit: Simon Luna