City and county officials speaking at the recent opening of the new UNM Hospitals North Valley Center for Family and Community Health hailed the clinic as a much needed addition to the area.
“This is the first new building in the Fourth Street corridor in years, and we are all very hopeful it is the start of other public-private enterprises to come,” Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O'Malley told a crowd at the opening.
The clinic, located at 3401 Fourth Street NW, is one of the UNM Health System’s biggest, featuring 22 exam rooms, a radiology suite, pharmacy and laboratory and large community meeting room. Community members weighed in on a wide-range of issues related to the clinic, from health care services to landscaping and traffic flow, O’Malley said.
“There were many, many hours of meetings by residents here and it is this joint ownership in the creation of the clinic that we are celebrating today,” she said.
The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center wants the partnerships forged during construction of the clinic to grow, said UNM Chancellor for Health Sciences Paul B. Roth, MD.
“We want to be involved in the North Valley in a number of ways," Roth told the group. "We want to know more about the unique need of this community so we can be more attentive to your needs here."
“The UNM Department of Family Medicine has wanted to be in the valley forever," added Martha McGrew, MD, executive vice dean for the UNM School of Medicine. "This clinic is just the start of collaborations here.”
“We want to start with your sons and daughters in the community, to get them interested in the health care professions. We want our research to provide ways to make a better life for you and we want to provide the best possible health care for you in a clinical setting,” said McGrew.
Garfield Middle School Principal David Lynch was enthusiastic in his support of future collaborations. The school is located to the west of the new clinic.
“We couldn’t be happier with our new neighbors. We are looking forward to creating projects for our students,” Lynch said.
The opening ceremony featured music from students at St. Therese Elementary school and tours of the building.
The Rev. Vincent Paul Chavez, pastor of the St. Therese of the Infant Jesus Catholic Church located across the street from the clinic, spoke of the church’s patron saint and her family.
“Her parents had nine children and someone was always sick," he said. "They were always seeing a doctor. Today we look across the street and see this clinic. Our prayers are that people seeing these doctors for their needs will lead to hope, healing and contentment."