In a time when most businesses and consumers are saving rather than spending, the North Side Christian Health Center is thinking big — very big.

Executive director Floyd Cephas said that he will be able to create 19 new positions, including a dentist and dental hygienist, to the center’s line up with the help of three grants totaling nearly $1.6 million.

Two of those grants came from the Recovery Act — one $1.3 million grant from URSA and one $99,785 grant from the Increase in Demand for Services Fund — and one $200,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The North Side Christian Health Center serves the community by not turning anyone away, regardless of whether or not and individual can pay. Cephas said these grants will help alleviate some of the pressure to find alternate sources of funding for the essential medical services the center offers to the Northside.

He smiled as he read off the list of positions he’d already filled: a family practice physician, a janitor, a nurse health educator, a development assistant, an administrative assistant, a finance director and two medical assistants.

He’s still looking for a biller, four more medical assistants, the dentist and the dental hygienist, among others.

“We are in a very, very exciting time that is giving us the privilege and the awesome responsibility of delivering top quality, holistic health care to the Northside and surrounding communities,” Cephas said.

Currently, the center is working on a feasibility study for the addition of a dental practice. Cephas already has a space picked out on the third floor. It’s currently a staff break room, but he said they’d renovate the basement to use as a break room, so they could convert the third floor to dental use.

In addition to adding a dentist, Cephas hopes the center will be able to hold more evening hours, and more hours at its Northview Heights satellite location. Currently, the Northview Heights center is only open 20 hours a week. Cephas wants to double that time to 40 hours a week.

 

He also wants to increase the scope of the center’s pediatric program. Right now the center has one part-time pediatrician with the hope of bringing in another full-time doctor.

 

“We have a very special mission here,” he said. “We don’t just treat and street our patients here. We address the physical, the psychological and the spiritual.”