Chandra Redfern, CEO, Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, Inc., David J. Nasca, President & CEO, Evans Bank and Dr. LaVonne Ansari, CEO, Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. at the grand opening of Westminster Commons.
Legislator Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes Spearheads Launch
of Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.
The Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. (CHCB, Inc.) was inaugurated in 1999, supported by a 330 grant that was spearheaded by then Erie County Legislator Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes who was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2003 to represent the 141st Assembly district. Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes was elevated in December 2018 to her current position as Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly.
From 1999 to 2006, CHCB, Inc. was originally located on the grounds of the Erie County Medical Center at 462 Grider St. on the east side of Buffalo. Beginning in 1999, CHCB, Inc. steadily became known as one of the leading health care providers in Buffalo, dedicated to providing a safety net to the uninsured and under insured by offering comprehensive primary care services in medicine and dentistry to a diverse population.
During this period, Buffalo was ranked as the fourth poorest large city in the US. The number of patients served by CHCB, Inc. tripled in five years. More than half of the households in the service area had incomes that fell below 200% of the federal poverty level. The target population was urban low-income African Americans in the Buffalo area.
Beginning in 2006, with the appointment of LaVonne E. Ansari, Ph.D. as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. launched into a period of unprecedented growth that continues today with operations in Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Lockport, and Niagara Falls.
Prior to joining CHCB, Inc., Dr. Ansari had the distinction of being the first Muslim African American female Vice President of Niagara County Community College. Dr. Ansari holds a bachelor’s degree in Professional Studies from Brockport State College; a Certificate in Career Development and Management in Women’s Studies from Cornell University; a master’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from the State University of New York College at Buffalo and a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She also serves as Board Chair of the Community Health Care Association of New York State and sits on several local and national boards.
In 2010, in alignment with Dr. Ansari’s vision for aggressive growth to meet the increasing health care needs of Western New York’s most underserved populations, the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. opened a satellite office in the city of Niagara Falls (the first Federally Qualified Health Center in Niagara Falls), located adjacent to the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
Combined, CHCB, Inc.’s sites served more than 11,000 patients in 2010.
In 2011, CHCB, Inc. completed a significant expansion from an 18,000 square foot facility to the new, 66,000 square foot facility on Benwood Ave.
In 2012, the Community Health Center of Lockport opened at 38 Heritage Court, Lockport, NY.
On May 1, 2012, Congressman Brian Higgins announced that the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. was awarded a $5 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services as part of their Capital Development – Building Capacity program to expand CHCB, inc.’s Niagara Falls facility.
“Community health centers like the Community Health Center of Buffalo are a vital source of affordable care and preventative services,” said Congressman Higgins. “This grant will allow them to expand their services to care for more Western New Yorkers, and also support good paying jobs in our community.”
The federal grant enabled CHCB, Inc. to construct a new facility in the heart of the community to address the unmet needs of patients in the area. The center, located at 2715 Highland Ave., opened its doors in June of 2015.
Staffed and operational in 2015, the CHCB, Inc. Cheektowaga location also officially celebrated its grand opening in November of 2016 at 934 Cleveland Dr., Buffalo, NY. Distinguished guests included Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26); New York State Senator Tim Kennedy (District 63); and Patrick B. Burke, 7th District Erie County Legislator.
With the primary goal of providing compassionate quality service that helps patients reach their goals and restore quality of life, CHCB, Inc. in 2018 opened a state-of-the-art Physical Therapy Department on the facility’s 4th floor at 34 Benwood Ave.
In August 2021, CHCB, Inc. joined the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers (BFNC), government leaders and supporters in helping celebrate the completion of Westminster Commons, a new housing community located on the city’s East Side which includes a newly constructed apartment building with 84 affordable apartments and a renovated historic Westminster Settlement House.
The Westminster Settlement House, originally constructed in 1893, offered an inhouse family type of service structure. East side immigrants and Buffalo residents impacted by the 1893 economic recession lived at the settlement house and received various services and training to help uplift them out of poverty.
Westminster has been transformed into a community service facility offering programs and services to assist individuals with overcoming life obstacles. Services include on site supportive services provided by BFNC staff, a certified senior adult day care program, an Evans Bank branch, a commercial kitchen, beauty salon, and community outreach space. In addition, the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. is operating our fifth facility within Westminster Commons including a primary-care services clinic on the ground floor where the settlement house used to have a bowling alley. Located just down the hall from the Evans branch, CHCB, Inc.’s satellite health clinic features three exam rooms, a doctor’s office, a nurse’s station, a waiting room and bathrooms. In addition, a new CHCB, Inc. Physical Therapy facility is located on the second floor in renovated space that formerly served as the Settlement House gym.
As we celebrate our 23rd year, the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. is extremely proud to care for over 20,000 patients annually, speaking 17 different languages and representing highly diverse peoples and cultures from literally around the world.