South Florida Hospital News
Friday August 23, 2019

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November 2007 - Volume 4 - Issue 5




Miami Beach Community Health Center Opens Sixth Location at Center for Haitian Studies in Miami

Miami Beach Community Health Center (MBCHC) opened its sixth location at the Center for Haitian Studies with a host of community agencies present, including Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson and a representative of Senator Bill Nelson. The full-service medical clinic, located at the Center for Haitian Studies at 8260 NE 2ND Avenue in Miami, will offer primary care, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, a discount pharmacy, laboratory and immune support programs.

(l-r) Kathryn Abbate of Miami Beach Community Health Center and Dr. Laurinus Pierre, of the Center for Haitian Studies, receiving a Proclamation from Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson. Commission Edmonson lauded the partnership that resulted in the first federally qualified health center in Little Haiti. It is the sixth location for Miami Beach Community Health.

"We are frankly thrilled that the Bureau of Primary Care allowed us to expand our mission to Little Haiti," said Kathryn Abbate, CEO of MBCHC. "And we’re particularly grateful to the executive staff of the Health Foundation of South Florida for helping us navigate the due diligence required. As a result, this severely under-served population will benefit from our comprehensive medical network."

Miami Beach Community Health Center is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). The new, 3,000 sq. ft. clinic, housed inside the Center for Haitian Studies, is already seeing approximately 25 patients per day. It is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) and part of Health Choice Network, a statewide group. As an FQHC, patient costs are calculated using a sliding fee scale based on income, regardless of immigration status.

"With this partnership, the Haitian community is receiving care close to home and in a culturally sensitive environment. The entire staff speaks Creole," said Laurinus Pierre, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Director of the Center for Haitian Studies.

(l-r) Dr. Laurinus Pierre and Kathryn Abbate, MPH, with Health Foundation of South Florida CEO Steve Marcus, Ph.D. at the opening of the Miami Beach Community Health Center at the Center for Haitian Studies. Dr. Marcus was instrumental in helping MBCHC navigate the expansion through the federal Bureau of Primary Care. The Foundation also helps fund the specialized, discounted pharmacy.

At the opening, Dr. Pierre quoted a recent study showing that few Haitian- Americans under 65 receive adequate health care or have medical insurance. "In Greater Miami, our community has less access to care than other ethnic groups," he continued.

The value and benefit of a FQHC are extensive, according to Steve Marcus, CEO of the Health Foundation of South Florida. Costs are low, physicians receive sovereign immunity, and the federal government subsidizes the prescription drugs for the qualifying, low-income residents.

"One of the goals is to gain the trust of the providers and the patients," commented Dr. Marcus. "Then we can create a medical home for the residents of the community, reduce the load on the area’s emergency rooms, and prevent or better manage chronic diseases."

According to Ms. Abbate, "there are trust issues which impact our ability to offer continuity of care to Haitian patients at our other locations. They need to know they are going to a place that is safe. Because of immigration concerns and Haitian customs regarding medical exams, many are afraid of going in for treatment."

Commented Dr. Pierre, "This is a first step toward providing care for the underserved population of Little Haiti, and on behalf of our residents, we thank the Miami Beach Community Health for its commitment to work with us."

For more information, call (305) 538-8835 or visit

. Hilda S. Mitrani is the owner of Multilingual Media & Marketing, Inc., a communications and marketing firm specializing in healthcare. She can be reached at

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