It was July 1964. Rochester, New York, faced with the same civil unrest that was sweeping across the country, descended into three days of violent race riots. This tragic event was a dramatic indicator of the social and economic reforms that were desperately needed across the country. In response to these events, the Neighborhood Health Centers of Monroe County (NHCMC) were founded.
Early Health Centers promoted local economic development, job training, nutritional counseling, sanitation, and social services. Part of their mission was to establish respect for patients and communities, and obtain their involvement in the operation and direction of health centers. This rich history serves as a constant reminder of how integral Community Health Centers are to the welfare and wellness of everyone in the communities they serve.
In the early 1980’s, NHCMC became known as Rochester Health Network (RHN). The organization founded a federally compliant grant board to oversee the community health care grant program, Section 330. In 1985, the government required RHN to create a separate corporation to deal with the program and two years later, Rochester Primary Care Network (RPCN) came to fruition. RPCN retained a small staff and was tasked with:
- Operating as a membership corporation for affiliated CHCs
- Monitoring financial aspects and other program activities
- Enhancing affiliate services
- Seeking additional program funding options for the benefit of the medically indigent
In 2010, the organization grew beyond the city of Rochester, stretching south into the Finger Lakes region, and east to the city of Utica. And in 2016, RPCN inched even further east with the opening of Valley Family Health Center in Ilion. Now called Regional Primary Care Network, the organization is proud of its roots and is committed to the mission of “providing access to compassionate, individualized health care and wellness-related education for everyone, regardless of financial, cultural, or social barriers.”