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By Sophie Brock 

Good as New: WelcomeHealth Celebrates 10 Years in Current Building

Everyone deserves accessible health care, and thanks to WelcomeHealth, this dream is becoming a reality. Since 1986, WelcomeHealth has provided free medical and dental care for low-income families. What most patients don’t realize is that the clinic is celebrating ten years at its current location, 1100 N. Woolsey Ave.; with a state-of-the-art remodel to the existing building by Marlon Blackwell Architects when WelcomeHealth moved in, the inside still looks brand new.


It’s a warm environment. As patients enter the building, staff and volunteers greet them with friendly smiles, making them feel comfortable and, most of all, welcome. According to WelcomeHealth’s website, anyone who does not make more than 200% above the federal poverty level can qualify for services — regardless of insurance status. Oftentimes, for those who can’t afford medical or dental care, there’s a stigma around getting it for free. 


WelcomeHealth is working hard to destroy that stigma.


Photo by Tim Hursley

“Our attitude is that just because you are low income and you don’t have insurance, it does not mean that the services we provide are not quality services and that patients don’t deserve to be served out of a wonderful facility,” said Monika Fischer-Massie, executive director of WelcomeHealth. “Before, we were in this old building and patients didn’t really value it, so sometimes they left trash, whereas in this new building, there is absolutely no trash and it’s clean all the time. It’s just amazing how the people respect this building a lot more than they did the old building.”


WelcomeHealth provided 13,515 services to 2,288 patients in 2022 alone, and since moving from a 6,000-square-foot building to a 10,000-square-foot building, the health center has been able to increase its number of patient exam rooms. 

Brittany Gulley, Marlon Blackwell, Ati Blackwell, Monika Fischer-Massie, Mary Alice Serafini and John Moores at the 10-year anniversary celebration of WelcomeHealth's facility on Jan.19

As it celebrates 10 years in the new space, WelcomeHealth is also looking to the future. Fischer-Massie hopes that in another 10 years, WelcomeHealth can provide a greater variety of dental care for its patients.

“It’s all about access to health care,” Fischer-Massie said. “I have seen the clinic evolve from a one-day-a-week clinic, operated by volunteers out of six exam rooms for both medical and dental, to a five-days-a-week clinic, operated by staff and volunteers out of 12 exam rooms.”


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Along with a beautiful interior space, the clinic is also LEED certified at the silver level, which means the clinic is recognized as being efficient, cost-effective, and healthier for occupants and the environment. Many of the materials used to bring the architect’s vision to life had been repurposed.


“Part of what drove us was that everyone deserves design and good space,” said Marlon Blackwell of Marlon Blackwell Architects. “Even though this is a program that is created to serve the more underserved in our community, it should be as good or better in terms of medical facilities in the area. I think the evidence of that is how well taken care of it is. That isn’t always just the staff, it’s also the people who come there; they’re also a part of the stewardship of the space. So, I see where the respect is given, and where the respect is returned is evident in the vitality of the space 10 years later.”

Photo by Tim Hursley


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