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Our History

Where We Are Now

New Bedford Community Health began as the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center in 1981 after a group of women came together to discuss the lack of access to high-quality primary care in their city. They decided they wanted to create a place where anyone could receive high-quality health care regardless of their income or access to health insurance. They believed in this cause so much that they even sold pencils on the streets of New Bedford to try to raise money for this cause.

Greater New Bedford Community Health Center opened its doors in 1984 with just 3 staff members – a physician and 2 support staff, and has provided primary care to a diverse population of low-income, medically underserved, uninsured, and under-insured area residents ever since.

two women hugging each other

In 2023, Greater New Bedford Community Health Center stepped into the future by shortening its name to New Bedford Community Health as a way to help our vast immigrant population, as the longer name often got lost in translation.

Our vision of care is a product of 40 years of listening to the needs and desires of the community and acting on them. Our 3-person staff in 1984 may have been small, but our dreams were big. We are proud of our strong history of improving the health of our community through quality, accessible, and culturally competent primary health care.

Today, with a staff of more than 300 employees, expert clinicians and medical staff, and a vast amount of community programs, we believe we are on our way to achieving our mission.

A Proud Past and a Promising Future


In 1981, a group of New Bedford citizens had a vision.

Their vision was to create a community health care facility where everyone would receive quality care,regardless of income, insurance or their ability to pay.

One year later, the Coastline Council on Aging awarded the citizens a $10,000 grant to support theirvision and the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center was officially incorporated.


In 1984, the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center officially opened its doors to the public and our first patient was seen. There was a small staff, which consisted of a Public Health Service physician, and two support staff. This was made possible with a $175,000 grant from the Federal Bureau of Primary Health Care.


In 1984, the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center’s Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC), a nutrition program for pregnant women, infants, and children opens.


In 1988, Services at the Health Center expand to include a Teen Clinic. This provides confidential medical and counseling services for teens at risk for early pregnancy & sexually transmitted diseases.


In 1990, GNBCHC awarded its first Ryan White grant in the amount of $110K for treatment of patients with HIV. The Health Center continues to receive more than $250K annually for this.


In 1992, GNBCHC expands services onsite medical specialists and launches the HIV Pediatric Program.


In 1993,GNBCHC moves from1204 Purchase Street (1984-1993) to the current location of 874Purchase Street (105,000 SF). Operating budget exceeds $4,000,000 and records more than 32,000patient visits. Receives FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) designation and becomes eligible forenhanced rates for services to the elder population.


In 1994, Urgent Care is added and GNBCHC expands its operating hours to include Saturdays.

Also, access to the healthcare is expanded through an affiliation agreement with Southcoast Hospital System. On-site services expand to include X-Ray Department.


In 1995, property at 852 Purchase Street is acquired from Shawmut Bank.


In 1996, property at 860 Purchase Street is acquired from the City of New Bedford.


In 1996, GNBCHC is recognized by the National Center for Disease Control (CHC) as the Poster Program for increasing childhood immunization rates to 92% of the population served.


In 1997, GNBCHC receives The Blue Ribbon for Innovation from the New England Health Care Assembly in recognition of its work with South Coast Hospital System to provide enhanced access to health care services for the medically underserved in the Greater New Bedford community.


In 1998, GNBCHC offers pharmacy assistance to low-income uninsured patients through grants from the Federal Drug Pricing Program.



In 1999, GNBCHC records more than 50,000 medical visits covering more than 20,000 patients from the greater New Bedford area.

Also, GNBCHC receives accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO).


In 2000, New Bedford Housing Authority selects GNBCHC as its partner in the HOPE VI project to open a satellite clinic for geriatric services at the Caroline Street Apartments.


In 2001, GNBCHC is awarded a $375K grant to establish a Dental Clinic for low-income residents of the Greater New Bedford community.


In 2002, GNBCHC's total patients exceed 30,000 (90,000 visits).


In 2003, GNBCHC opens a Dental Clinic for low-income residents of the Greater New Bedford community.

Also, The Greater New Bedford Community Health Foundation is incorporated. Master Chef George Karousos of the International Culinary Institute is named Chairman of the Board.


In 2004, a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant was awarded by the City of New Bedford to build an on-site pharmacy at 874 Purchase Street. In addition, a $25,000 grant is awarded to complete the sixth and final dental operatory.


In 2005, The George Karousos Pediatric Center opens.


In 2007, GNBCHC officially opens its expanded downtown campus, providing a greater range of services. This includes a new Women’s Health Department.


In 2008, Walgreens on-site pharmacy opens.

GNBCHC is selected to participate in the Occupational Health Surveillance program.


In 2009, GNBCHC is awarded a $195,000 grant by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation to develop a chronic disease Intervention Program.

Southcoast Ambulatory Care Clinic transfers patients to GNBCHC.

MHEFA awards a $25,000 grant to equip the Caroline Street facility to accommodate a significant increase in the number of patients.

GNBCHC implements eClinicalWorks' Electronic Medical Record solution.


In 2010, GNBCHC dedicates the Laurel A. Miller Center


In 2011, GNBCHC Serves as Clinical Training Affiliate for UMass Medical.


In 2012, MHEFA awards GNBCHC $25,000 to enlarge and renovate the Women's Health Department, and the State of Massachusetts awards GNBCHC a $102,268 grant to help patients navigate health insurance options. GNBCHC also receives $55,000 of Affordable Care Act funding to increase cervical cancer screenings.

Rose Yates retires as Board Chairperson after 25 years of service.


In 2013, GNBCHC is recognized as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for the 1st time in Pediatrics.

GNBCHC receives $103,264 of Affordable Care Act funding to enroll patients into health insurance plans, and the State awards GNBCHC $131,191 to support health care access projects.

Also, a HRSA review finds GNBCHC to be in compliance with all 19 Health Center Program Requirements.


In 2014, GNBCHC’s Adult Urgent Care hours were extended to seven days a week.


In 2015, Women’s Health was renovated and expanded. The practice focuses on reproductive health, gynecology services, and primary care. Access to health care is expanded through an affiliation agreement with Southcoast OB/GYN to provide services for our pregnant women.

Additionally, GNBCHC’s Urgent Care Center expanded to include children ages 12 years and older.

The Wareham facility is opened to provide primary care for all ages, benefits counseling, and Social Worker and Patient Advocate assistance.


In 2016, GNBCHC is recognized as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

Additionally, GNBCHC signed the ACO Pilot with Boston Medical Center (BMC).


In 2017, GNBCHC is awarded a HRSA grant to increase access for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (AIMS).


In 2018, GNBCHC’s Adult Urgent Care hours were extended to seven days a week.

In addition, GNBCHC is awarded $93,000 for Innovation Fund through United Way to match AIMS funding.


In 2020, GNBCHC’s Pediatric Department expands. Pediatric exam rooms increased from 9 to 18, 2 behavioral health offices were added, and a $3M TEAM UP for Children Behavioral Health grant was awarded.


In 2021, GNBCHC’s facilities expand. The Health Center acquired property at 384 Acushnet Avenue for Administrative space. This acquisition frees up space for clinical services on the main campus.

Also, GNBCHC signs an agreement to participate in a collaborative of FQHCs to transition to EPIC, the Cadillac for EHRs with a tentative implementation date of 5/1/2023.


In 2022, Walgreens has expanded its square footage on the Health Center campus from 937 sq. ft. to 1,400 sq. ft.

Additionally, a HRSA review finds GNBCHC to be in compliance with all 19 Health Center Program Requirements.


In 2023, GNBCHC becomes New Bedford Community Health. GNBCHC steps into the future and rebrands with a new name - New Bedford Community Health along with a new logo.

NBCH joins with 22 other community health centers around Massachusetts in an ACO called Community Care Cooperative (or C3).

NBCH’s Dental department is remodeled and the number of exam rooms increases.

NBCH launches a new medical record system, EPIC, and a new patient portal, MyChart.