BRONX, N.Y. – U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) today awarded nearly $675,000 in Community Project Funding to Union Community Health Center, which he successfully secured as part of the final Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 in partnership with other members of the New York Congressional Delegation, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer.
The funding will allow UCHC to begin the work of launching a new Maternal and Child Health Center and continue to demonstrate its steadfast commitment to strengthening comprehensive and innovate access to preventative maternal and child health, dental, and behavioral care for women, children, and families in the Bronx.
“Improving the health and well-being of mothers, infants, and children in the Bronx and increasing access to quality, affordable healthcare is a critical public health issue affecting us all,” said Rep. Torres. “I’m proud to have secured this crucial investment for Union Community Health Center’s new Maternal and Child Health Center, which will directly serve some of the most vulnerable populations in our community and go a long way toward providing comprehensive care and addressing generations of systemic racism and discrimination that have contributed to deep racial disparities and health outcomes.”
“Union Community Health Center provides top-quality and affordable healthcare to the Bronx community and I’m proud to support their work,” said U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer. “With the help of Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Torres, these federal funds were secured for the new Maternal and Child Health Center (MCHC) to increase access to critical medical care for mothers and children in the Bronx. This new center integrates a variety of health services in one space to ease access to care, and I’ll keep fighting for federal funds to support this community.”
Currently, the United States is experiencing the highest levels of pregnancy and childbirth-related mortality for women among the wealthiest countries in the world. However, all women are not facing this crisis equally. Black women in particular are three times more likely to die before, during, or after childbirth compared to white women. And specifically, looking at New York City and the 15th Congressional District, the Bronx has the highest rate of life-threatening complications for women during or after childbirth compared to any other borough and much lower rates of women seeking prenatal care in their first trimester compared to the national average.
Through its new Maternal and Child Health Center, UCHC aims to address and reverse these longstanding disparities that disproportionately affect people of color, remove barriers to care, and improve overall health outcomes, creating a pathway to systemic change through the availability of resources and services in one location.
“The Bronx has suffered a long history of a systemic lack of access to adequate healthcare, resulting in decades of heart-wrenching disparities, in particular, the need for comprehensive and culturally relevant maternal and child healthcare within our diverse communities,” said Douglas L. York, Ph.D., President & CEO of Union Community Health Center. “The creation of the newly planned Union Community Health Center Maternal and Child Health Center will create a pathway to systemic change in maternal child health access. With the nearly $675,000 in generous support and leadership from Senator Schumer and Congressman Torres, UCHC will build an integration of pediatric, maternal, behavioral, and dental care. UCHC’s Access for All health initiative will deliver a state-of-the art, technologically adept integrated maternal/child unit dedicated to serving the health care needs of women and children.”
The new center will combine maternal, behavioral, health, and dental care for women, children, and infants in the Bronx with flexible scheduling seven days a week and walk-in rapid care, building on UCHC’s more than 100-year legacy of providing community-informed healthcare.
Rep. Torres was able to secure more than $16.2 million in funding for 15 community projects, including UCHC’s Maternal and Child Health Center, that will directly respond to the most pressing needs of the Bronx, including expanding opportunities for middle class families and small businesses, strengthening access to quality healthcare and education, and reversing decades of community disinvestment.