While disease is a lack of health, health is not simply a lack of disease.
In 1979, when the Boston Public Library closed its Codman Square Branch at 6 Norfolk Street to move further up Washington Street, neighborhood activists knew they had a unique opportunity. Not only could they revitalize the community by turning an unused building into an important aspect of the neighborhood, they could do it by providing a vitally important and unique service. It wasn’t a simple process, but they persisted with a plan to open not just a community health center, but an organization that would improve the health of individuals — and the community itself.
We opened our doors with a dream: to build the best urban community in America. As part of this dream, we recognized that though health care begins by alleviating sickness, the journey to a true “culture of health” is more complex — it includes providing jobs, building a beautiful campus, and empowering people to take charge of their health and community.
We believe a healthy community and a healthy individual are interdependent. The Codman Model of Health is inclusive of everything that affects the ability of the community and individual to thrive. A healthy community has access to medicine that not only cures, but empowers.
Our vision of medicine is a product of 40 years of listening to the needs and desires of the community and acting on them. Our two-physician staff that summer of 1979 may have been small, but our mantra was big: While disease is a lack of health, health is not simply a lack of disease.
Today, with a staff of more than 300 employees, expert clinicians and medical staff, and an astounding depth and breadth of community programs, we believe that we are on our way toward reaching our dream of building the best urban community in America. Codman Square Health Center is committed to continued progress and we hope you will join us in fulfilling our vision of a culture of health in our community.
- Read about the History of Codman Square – by William J. Walczak
- Watch the TED Talk by one of our founders, William J. Walczak