Grand Opening!

DREAM Collaborative was happy to celebrate the Grand Opening of the new Wellness & Fitness Club at Whittier Street Health Center (WSHC) on June 27, 2015. Mayor Martin J. Walsh officiated the well-attended event that marked a significant achievement for WSHC, the project team, and the community.

Above from left: Jason Grinacoff of Chapman Construction, DREAM Collaborative Principal Troy Depeiza, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, DREAM Collaborative Principal Gregory Minott, and WSHC Facilities Manager Jean Vatelia.

WSHC Press Release:

Boston Health Center Aims to Improve Life Expectancy for Urban Residents Opens New Fitness Center and Community Garden

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh to officiate at Grand Opening on June 27

BOSTON, June 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — It is now well known that the census tract with the lowest life expectancy in Boston is in Roxbury, the urban neighborhood where the average resident lives just 58.9 years. Three miles away, in the toney upscale Back Bay, the average life expectancy is 91.9 years – a 33-year age difference.

Much of the disparity in life expectancy in neighborhoods in Boston, and other urban communities across the country, is determined by differences in access to medical care, diet and opportunities for exercise and fitness activities. Whittier Street Health Center, one of Boston’s leading community health centers, is aiming to change these startling statistics with the opening of its new Wellness and Fitness Club, on Saturday, June 27.  Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh will preside at the Grand Opening.

The new 6,600-square-foot Whittier Wellness and Fitness Club, a much-needed onsite fitness center, will be one of the most comprehensive of its type in the region, located in a culturally diverse community.   It will offer a broad array of services and activities, ranging from a physical fitness coach, exercise machines, classes in aerobics, yoga and Zumba, a life coach, and a pediatric healthy weight coordinator.   The launch of the Wellness and Fitness Club comes on the heels of the opening of the center’s Community Garden on week earlier.  The garden, tended to by volunteers from the neighborhood, will improve residents’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the community and offer a relaxing space in an urban neighborhood.

“Our new Wellness and Fitness Club will address the disparities in health in diverse communities, in particular the challenges people of color face in getting and staying healthy,” said Frederica M. Williams, President and CEO of the Whittier Street Health Center. “The Wellness and Fitness Club will offer members an opportunity to get actively involved in their health in a variety of methods so that they can be healthy, feel great and reach their wellness and fitness goals.”

The Health Center is taking a revolutionary approach to addressing heath disparities.  Patients can request a Prescription for Health from their Primary Care Physician, Psychiatrist or Bay State Physical Therapist.  Each prescription will be tailored to their individual needs.   The program can include a configuration of prescribed services, such as yoga, dance, nutritional tips, physical fitness, life coaching or acupuncture. A Life Coach will meet with the patient to formulate their Prescription for Health, schedule attendance among the activity groups, and incorporate nutrition groups and acupuncture.  Patients of the Whittier can become members of the new Wellness and Fitness Club on a month-to-month basis for just $10 per month.

The opening of the Wellness and Fitness Club will also mark the 15th anniversary of the health center’s annual Men’s Health Summit, which is free and open to all.

The Men’s Health Summit, which will honor seven men from different walks of life with the center men’s health champion award, is an opportunity to illustrate the importance of educating men and their families to take control of their health—physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.  Dr. Gene Lindsey, CEO Emeritus of Atrius Health, will serve as keynote speaker of the Summit.  In addition to the Wellness and Fitness Center, the Whittier Street Health Center offers high quality, reliable and accessible primary healthcare and support services.

About Whittier Street Health Center (

Whittier Street Health Center is a Joint Commission accredited, private, non-profit, independently licensed community health center dedicated to providing high quality, reliable and accessible primary healthcare and support services for diverse populations to promote wellness and eliminate health and social disparities. Serving more than 25,000 clients with approximately 100,000 clinic visits and 20,000 community outreach visits annually, Whittier has a patient base that is ethnically and racially diverse. Whittier provides a comprehensive array of 40 healthcare programs and services designed to meet the primary health care, behavioral health and social needs of the community. Whittier is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a level 3 (highest level) patient-centered medical home.

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