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Completion of UPMC family health center in New Kensington celebrated

BRIAN C. RITTMEYER| Friday, June 4, 2021 6:11 p.m.

The new UPMC St. Margaret Family Health Center in New Kensington does not compare at all with the facility it replaces in city hall, the center’s medical director said.

“Everything is brand new. It’s bigger,” said Dr. Winfred Frazier. “It’s a much more welcoming space.”

The center has moved from a space in city hall to 1072 Fifth Ave., near the post office.

State and local officials and members of the New Kensington community joined with UPMC on Friday in celebrating the completion of the $5.4 million, 8,000-square-foot family health center.

It was built during the covid pandemic, in less than a year from its groundbreaking in late June 2020.

The new facility, six years in the making, opened and began seeing patients early last month.

Health services available at the center include primary care, covid-19 vaccination, obstetrics, pediatrics, opioid use disorder intervention, psychiatry, social work and behavioral health. It has 12 private exam rooms.

About 20 people work there.

“We are so glad that UPMC chose our downtown area for this facility,” Mayor Tom Guzzo said in remarks in the center’s outdoor courtyard. “It serves so many purposes and needs of this community. I think that it is so vitally important that a facility such as this with the great staff of UPMC and the services they provide be accessible to so many who otherwise might not have that opportunity.”

The largest supporters of the project were the state through a $1.25 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant and the Richard King Mellon Foundation and UPMC St. Margaret, which each gave $1 million.

The St. Margaret Foundation also contributed $800,000, while the Staunton Farm Foundation gave $200,000 and funded the “Sunshine Space,” an area inside the center that will be used for training, health education events and community meetings.

“The St. Margaret Foundation’s partners in philanthropy — foundations, corporations, elected officials and individual donors — filled in the gaps with hope and promise to bring the dream of a new community health center to life,” said Mary Lee Gannon, foundation president. “We’re grateful for this collaboration and to give this beautiful facility to the people of New Kensington.”

“The building changed but the staff is the same,” said Frazier, who trained in the clinic at its former location from 2014 to 2017 and returned to the area last September to be its medical director.

Although the new center is just two blocks away from city hall, Frazier said the move felt farther and was a lot of work.

“Now that we’re here, we’re very happy,” he said, adding that patients have been, too.

The center brings “world-class” health care to its patients where they live, said Leslie C. Davis, UPMC executive vice president and president of UPMC Health Services Division.

“The services we’re providing here are designed to meet the health needs of this community,” Davis said. “UPMC will continue reinvesting across our region to advance clinical and service excellence.”

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