One of PCDCís many successful clients is the Betances Health Unit Ė a community health center that has served the primary care needs of the residents of Manhattan's Lower East Side since 1970. Founded as a grassroots mobile health unit to bring urgently needed medical services to the Lower East side's medically indigent and homeless, Betances Health Center remains committed to promoting quality health care as a basic right for all, regardless of economic or financial status. Currently, Betances benefits over 11,000 under-served patients each year.
In its early years Betances operated out of a makeshift office above a pickle factory on Essex Street, delivering health services from a mobile health unit. Initial services included screenings, immunizations, family planning, health education, advocacy, and referrals. By 1976, the organization had obtained the authorization to operate as a freestanding clinic.
Today, Betances has emerged as a leader in culturally competent, community-based care, addressing the special health needs in one of New York City's most diverse immigrant communities. Addressing a broad range of health care beliefs and practices, its integrated health strategy combines traditional medicine and family-based social services with an innovative program of holistic treatments. Moreover, in an effort to stay accountable to local community needs and concerns, the Betances staff participate in numerous citywide and national organizations, including The Community Health Care Association of New York State, The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, The Hispanic Federation, and the New York AIDS Coalition. The Executive Director also serves as Chairman of the Board for BIMCS Community Advisory Council, and for the AIDS Service Center of Lower Manhattan.