As readers of PGN are aware, Mazzoni Center is currently in the midst of several major transitions. The recent departure of our longtime CEO Nurit Shein, as well as former board president Jimmy Ruiz, MD, and medical director Robert Winn, MD, represent a major turning point, and also an opportunity for us to examine our goals and core values, and to chart a course that will carry us into the next phase of our organizational journey.
Our new executive committee includes myself, Interim Board President Tony Rodriguez, MD; Vice President Mark Blecher, MD; Secretary Christopher Pope and Treasurer Tony Verdi, Ph.D. The Executive Committee, in conjunction with the rest of our board and senior management team, are in the process of identifying an interim CEO and will begin a formal search for a permanent CEO for Mazzoni Center shortly thereafter. The board has committed to engaging with staff and with stakeholders in the community as part of the permanent CEO search, to ensure that the person ultimately selected reflects the essential qualities needed to provide leadership to the organization during this pivotal time and ensure our success moving forward.
As I posted on our blog: “We are incredibly grateful and honored to be a part of this community, and we appreciate that so many people feel invested in what happens here, and in helping to shape the future of an institution that has become a vital resource for thousands of people across the city and region. Caring for the people within our community is an honor and an obligation that we take very seriously.”
In the meantime, the board of directors, in collaboration with our senior management team, is working to ensure that our patients continue to receive the high-quality care and services they rely on and deserve during this transitional time. We are also working to ensure the financial and logistical stability of the organization as we embark on our long-awaited move to 1348 Bainbridge St., which will be our new home as of May 30.
The new building will help us address several critical needs by bringing virtually all of our programs and services into a single location, adding much-needed space and providing clients and patients with a comfortable and welcoming environment.
Located on the southeast corner of Broad and Bainbridge streets, the new location is easily accessible by public transit. The building itself was formerly home to a Department of Public Welfare office, and had been unoccupied for several years. It has been expanded and completely renovated to accommodate the full complement of interconnected services Mazzoni will offer here, including our primary-care practice, mental-health counseling program, legal services, case management, housing-subsidy program, food bank, education and prevention programs and more.
The Broad and Bainbridge location will nearly double the size of Mazzoni’s family and community medical-practice space, allowing us to hire more clinicians, incorporate additional wellness services and provide care to many more people than our current space allows. We’ll also greatly expand our Open Door behavioral-health program, adding several more counseling rooms and therapists and opening the region’s first Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) dedicated to providing recovery services specifically for LGBTQ individuals struggling with addiction.
Our new home at Broad and Bainbridge will improve Mazzoni’s ability to provide high-value care to patients that optimizes quality and clinical effectiveness, while also keeping our costs in check. It will allow us to fully implement and realize our goal of becoming a “patient-centered medical home” by bringing the full array of our supportive services into a single location alongside our medical center. It will enable a truly holistic and comprehensive approach to care.
Providing our staff with a more functional and efficient work environment is another important step in improving overall delivery of care. Our staff is truly the heart and soul of what we do, and the reason that so many people have entrusted us with their care for so many years. Bringing the full staff together under one roof will foster more effective staff collaboration and communication, with common spaces designed and configured to promote meaningful interaction among our many care and service providers.
The new building will also feature a “Town Hall” gathering space, where we look forward to hosting community events and educational/wellness workshops.
(It’s important to note that the Washington West Project, our walk-in HIV and STI testing site at 1201 Locust St., will not be moving and will continue to offer free testing services six days a week in a location that has become an important community hub since its opening in 1996.)
All services at Mazzoni Center and the Washington West Project will be closed through May 29 to facilitate the move. We look forward to welcoming patients and clients to our new home on May 30.
Transition can be challenging, and we appreciate that we have lots of work ahead, but we look forward to working together with patients, clients and community partners in the months and years ahead to help determine the future of Mazzoni Center. We plan and pledge to be here for Philadelphia’s LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities for many years to come.
Anthony Rodriguez, MD, is a physician who has practiced family medicine in Philadelphia for 25 years and currently serves as Mazzoni Center’s board president.