For the past 50 years, Bowdoin Street Health Center (BSHC) has provided high-quality, culturally competent care to residents of Dorchester and beyond. A cornerstone of the vibrant Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood, BSHC has continued to grow and evolve over the past half-century to provide multilingual care to more than 11,000 patients per year. The health center has made incredible strides in the past year with Executive Director Samantha Taylor, who assumed her role in 2021. Taylor is focused on efforts to continue expanding service offerings, providing a safe space for all patients who seek care, as well as nurturing and developing the talented BSHC team. In addition, capital projects such as the new onsite pharmacy, supported by generous gifts from the Krupp Family and others, are advancing the center’s mission to improve access and serve more community members.
Just one year after its opening, the BSHC pharmacy is already helping streamline medication management for patients. Staffed by three pharmacists who have a total of 32 years’ experience serving Dorchester and four technicians, all Dorchester residents, the new service also reinforces BSHC’s commitment to the community. “The pharmacy has allowed us to enhance access and reduce copays, as compared to a retail pharmacy,” says Minh Le, Pharmacy Manager. “Having this resource onsite improves the patient experience and access.” The convenience of being able to pick up medications at BSHC after medical visits helps patients adhere to their treatment plans—and approximately 75 percent of prescriptions filled at BSHC are at no cost to the patient. These are among the reasons the Krupp family decided to support this vital effort. “Our family is committed to building access to essential services for communities that have been historically affected by divestment and oppressive systems,” says George Krupp. “We see and honor the resilient spirit of the Bowdoin-Geneva community and hope that the new pharmacy provides ease, affordability, and the care that they deserve.”
The health center maintains a vital role in the community, providing a wide array of essential services for an increasingly diverse population. “Our goal is for anyone to walk into Bowdoin Street and feel immediately welcomed and cared for,” says Samantha, who is focused on advancing inclusion and reducing stigmas—particularly those related to behavioral health, race, gender, and sexual orientation. “We are increasing awareness around the proper use of pronouns and the fact that substance use is a disease, not a lifestyle choice.” And while these efforts help protect and provide for people who enter BSHC, the health center is also looking outward in terms of supporting the community by responding to acts of violence, canvasing the neighborhood, and asking people what they need. “We’re thriving right now in terms of our ability to care for patients and contribute to the broader community,” says Taylor, acknowledging the toll the pandemic took on employee retention and daily operations. “Our staffing has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels and we’re in a good position for strategic planning around our long-term goals and objectives. It’s an exciting time.”
A passionate advocate for community-based care who has dedicated her career to this work, Taylor is brimming with ideas to move the organization forward—and philanthropy is essential to the organization’s future. From capital facilities projects to expanding behavioral health services and wellness offerings, she sees a world of opportunity. Collaborating more closely with community partners to address systemic issues including food insecurity, housing, education, and violent crime is also a priority. “Our supporters enable us to invest in new technology, add services, launch community programs, and better support our staff—all of which lead to better care and improved outcomes for our patients,” says Taylor. “Philanthropy has an immediate and profound impact on the health and well-being of all those we serve.”
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