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Evergreen Health is a multiple discipline healthcare organization whose mission is to serve clients who are typically underserved in the broader healthcare system, including clients living with HIV, those who use substances, and those who identify as LGBTQ.
Evergreen has seen significant growth in its client base in recent years, thanks to their increasingly diverse list of programs and services. The agency now offers primary care, specialty care, STI screening, substance user health, mental health counseling, pharmacy services, nutrition assistance, a food pantry, housing services, and care coordination.
Earlier this year, the organization boosted its capacity to serve its clients with a 35,000 square foot, five-story expansion at 206 South Elmwood Avenue. The self-funded expansion tripled its client space, thus reducing wait times and expanding service options. The expansion also allowed Evergreen to increase its staff capacity by hiring behavioral health educators who will be responsible for community outreach and education.
The new building is designed to be a physical symbol of Evergreen’s core values, with a welcoming, open atrium space, wide corridors and bright spaces. By providing a calming, welcoming space for client care, the agency underscores its mission to treat each of its clients with the respect and dignity they so deserve.
Joanne Haefner has been a strong advocate for strengthening Buffalo’s neighborhoods by providing access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare in communities of need.
Neighborhood Health Center is a federally qualified community health center that provides comprehensive ambulatory healthcare services to anyone, regardless of income or ability to pay for treatment. Clients of the Center can receive services including internal and family medicine, pediatric care, OB/GYN, dental services, podiatry, behavior health, and nutrition.
Joanne’s leadership has led to a significant expansion of the Center’s service footprint. In 2011, when Kaleida Health closed outpatient services at the Mattina Center on the City’s West Side, Neighborhood Health stepped in to fill the gap. The agency also added a site in Blasdell earlier this year. Joanne has seen her staff expand from 52 to 228, working to train and hire many from the neighborhoods her agency serves. Joanne has also overseen major renovations at two sites, providing state-of-the-art facilities that enhance patient care, as well as the appearance of the neighborhoods they serve.
Under Joanne’s leadership, Neighborhood Health Center has also worked to expand health education in the communities it serves. The Center has forged connections with Buffalo’s education institutions, including D’Youville College, University at Buffalo, Daemen College, and Ken-Ton Adult Ed.
Joanne also serves on the Board of Governors for Millenium Collaborative Care and has served as chair of Safety Net Association of Primary Care Affiliated Providers (SNAPCAP) of WNY, a coalition of groups working to improve primary care for those living in poverty. Joanne’s leadership and advocacy has opened the door to better healthcare for low-income families in Buffalo, and has helped build healthier communities throughout Western New York.
The University District is a prime example of how strong leadership and collaboration can produce comprehensive community development that improves quality of life for residents.
A longtime Buffalo LISC partner, the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA) is the anchor for community development in their target neighborhoods. In addition to offering youth and senior service programs out of its Gloria J. Parks Community Center, UDCDA has spearheaded many housing and commercial corridor revitalization efforts in the District. The organization secured funding through the Better Buffalo Fund to support small business property renovations, including several on Bailey Avenue and the iconic Parkside Candy Company on Main Street. UDCDA also channeled grant funding into the restoration of The Varsity Theatre. The organization continues to be a vital resource for neighborhood revitalization efforts in the District.
As an umbrella organization, the University Heights Collaborative (UHC) engages residents, businesses, block clubs, the University at Buffalo, St. Joseph’s University Church, and members of local government and law enforcement as active participants in their neighborhood initiatives. UHC’s Tool Library provides access to over 2,000 tools for a nominal membership fee, making it easier and more affordable for residents and businesses to take on improvement projects. UHC’s Community Laboratory also provides DIY workshops to educate members of the community on tools use, home improvement projects, and more. UHC also played a key role in transforming a former railway into a multi-recreational trail, the North Buffalo Rails-to-Trails. Their ongoing initiatives are essential in improving quality of life for residents of the University District.