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40th anniversary gala event to feature N.Y.C. Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Senator Robert Menendez, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, George Adams and Harvey Holzberg

Note to Editors: Photos available.

October 8, 2007, Brooklyn, New York...The Sunset Park Family Health Center, is set to celebrate 40 years of serving as Sunset Park's primary care home with a gala awards dinner and fundraiser on October 12 at the Brooklyn Marriott. The 40th anniversary gala will feature opening remarks from Christine Quinn, speaker of the New York City Council, and will honor the efforts of community health pioneers: George Adams, president emeritus; Harvey Holzberg, executive director emeritus, Senator Robert Menendez and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.

Now the hub of the Lutheran Family Health Centers network, the Sunset Park Family Health Center opened its doors in October 1967 with the guidance of the Sunset Park Health Council, leadership of Lutheran Medical Center, and a $706,847 grant from the Federal Office of Economic Opportunity. Within one year of its establishment it became the medical home for nearly 20,000 residents of Sunset Park.

The Sunset Park Family Health Center created a full menu of primary medical services in its first two years, and introduced an extensive career-training program, along with mental health and alcohol counseling services. In 1970, Lutheran Medical Center's Eugene Fanta, M.D., established New York City's first family practice residency program. Four years later the Lutheran Family Health Centers began one of the nation's first WIC (women, infants and children) programs. The result was a dramatic growth in patient volume and by 1975 the center opened its first primary care satellite, the Adult Annex, which evolved into the Family Physician Family Health Center.

The dental residency program began humbly in 1974, grew slowly through the 80s, and then took a great leap forward in 1992 with the introduction of distance-learning. Today, through distance-learning, the Sunset Park Family Health Center serves as a virtual classroom whose students work in health centers in 12 states nationwide and participate in a shared academic program via video teleconferencing. The program enables approximately 100 residents to receive the highest quality of instruction while delivering patient care in some of America's most isolated communities - from the northernmost settlement in North America, to Native American tribal lands in New Mexico.

During the 1980s the Sunset Park Family Health Center took to action when drugs and HIV/AIDS ravaged Sunset Park. In one decade it established psychology and social work internships, school-based alcoholism and mental health services, and the Crossroads substance abuse treatment program.

Additionally, SCIS (Special Care Immunology Services), an extensive HIV/AIDS program, was created and integrated with primary care and chemical dependency services. Citywide fiscal crises compounded the HIV/AIDS and drug problems and forced the city to cut many of its services. The Sunset Park Family Health Center also increased access to its own services through two far-reaching programs: Health Plus, a nonprofit managed care company, and School Health. Both programs are now among the largest in the state.

Through its commitment to serving diverse ethnic communities in a culturally sensitive manner, the Sunset Park Health Center distinguished itself from other community health centers around the nation. Throughout the 1990's it spread its innovative model of culturally competent care to other underserved communities in Brooklyn including Park Slope and Bay Ridge. Between 1991 and 2003, the center would expand by opening six new health centers covering southwest Brooklyn.

Today, the Sunset Park Family Health Center is the hub of a far reaching system of community health centers collectively known as the Lutheran Family Health Centers, a network of nine full-time community health centers, 14 school based health centers and a full spectrum of support and enabling services. As the primary care home for 95,000 people each year, Lutheran has come a long way in 40 years.

The Sunset Park Family Health Center's 40th anniversary gala and celebratory dinner will be an opportunity for staff, patients, community members and supporters to celebrate its unique and distinguished 40-year history. For more information or to learn about ticket and sponsorship opportunities visit /Newsor call Amy Mugavero, vice president of Development, at 718-630-6245.


The Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC), based in Sunset Park, is a federally qualified community-based ambulatory health care system affiliated with Lutheran HealthCare. Governed by the Sunset Park Health Council, Inc., and serving southwest Brooklyn, LFHC is one of the largest health center networks in the country. With nine full-time community health centers, eight medical partnerships, 14 school-based health centers and community programs, including three WIC programs, adult and family literacy programs, three child care centers and a family wellness center, the network has served as Brooklyn's medical home for more than 40 years.

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