A message from Chuck Jones, President & CEO of Harbor Health
All of us at Harbor Health were deeply saddened to learn about the recent death of Dr. Jack Geiger. He was a monumental figure in our own organization’s history, as well as in the worlds of medicine and social justice.
In December 1965, Dr. Geiger co-founded the Columbia Point Health Center, now Harbor’s Geiger Gibson Community Health Center in Dorchester. His passionate activism and determination to uproot the societal injustices which caused poverty and poor health were the seeds of the community health center movement nationally.
As Dr. Geiger told Time Magazine at the time, “We have known for a long time about the relationships between poverty and health without fully facing up to them. The poor are likelier to be sick. The sick are likelier to be poor. Without intervention, the poor get sicker and the sick get poorer.”
He believed community health centers were not the end, they were the means to a “road out” of poverty. Today health centers like Geiger Gibson serve nearly 30 million low income patients each year across the U.S., each of them firmly anchored in the values and approach to community health that Dr. Geiger instilled over 55 years ago.
Dr. Geiger’s life and accomplishments are well documented, so we won’t attempt to recount them all here. Perhaps his legacy can best be honored by remembering that, yes, while he was a doctor, our co-founder, a founding member of two antiwar Nobel Peace Prize winning organizations, and an iconic figure in public health, he was also someone who simply believed we should look out for people in trouble.
For him, building and sustaining a healthy community was not only about providing exceptional healthcare, but also about fostering mutual respect and compassion, and sharing knowledge and resources so that everyone had a chance to reach their full potential.
Racial and social justice were and are inseparable from community health.
After watching the health and economic effects of the pandemic disproportionately fall across the country this year, we will continue to be inspired by this same belief.
President & CEO