The project was made possible by a $5 million grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services and Health Resources and Services Administration.
At the ceremony, the new center was named in honor of DHC's principal founder, Dr. H. Jack Geiger, to pay homage to his leadership in establishing Delta Health Center and providing health care services for medically underserved and vulnerable populations in rural and urban communities in the Mississippi Delta.
The original facility was renamed the Drs. Hatch/James Education and Training Center in honor of principal founders Dr. John Hatch and Dr. Andrew James.
DHC CEO John Fairman said he was thrilled to be boosting medical services through the exciting expansion.
"The facility we currently have is not only old but through the years it did not have the proper capital investments to maintain the center," said Fairman. "This project will address the needs for a modern state-of-the-art facility.
"We are elated about receiving the grant and bringing new services and jobs to the Delta."
The site will provide primary care that includes family medicine, internal medicine, OB/GYN, dental services, pediatrics and related diagnostic services such as radiology, laboratory and pharmacy.
"A focus of the new layout was a more healing design," added Fairman. "Everything was designed for the maximization of external light to enhance patient flow."
Other original team members and stakeholders instrumental in the establishment of the DHC were in attendance, including: Dr. Aaron Shirley, chairman of Jackson Medical Mall; Dr. Robert Smith, CEO of Central MS Health Services; and Dr. LC Dorsey, former executive director of Delta Health Center.
In addition, President Thomas Van Coverden of the National Association of Community Health Centers was the keynote speaker. Coverden has served as president for more than 40 years.
Delta Health Center, the first community health center in the United States, has led to the establishment of 1,200 community health centers serving more than 8,000 sites throughout the United States.
DHC continues to fill critical gaps in healthcare by serving and empowering more than 10,383 Delta individuals and families who might otherwise have no access to health care services.
The DHC also provides primary and preventive health services at three other local sites — Cleveland, Greenville and Moorehead.
Fairman said he hopes to acquire more grants in the near future to boost these facilities.
Centers across the country must meet the following qualifications: be located in a federally designated medically underserved area or serve medically underserved populations; provide comprehensive primary care; adjust charges for health services on a sliding fee schedule according to patient income; and be governed by a community board, of which a majority of members are patients at the center.
For more information, visit www.deltahealthcenter.org or call the DHC at 662-741-2151.
The Bolivar Commercial will have continuing coverage of this event in Sunday's edition.