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Our History

The Harbor Health Services story spans over five decades.

Dr. Jack Geiger and Dr. Count Gibson founded the first community health centers in the nation in one
urban and one rural community. Dr. Geiger’s vision sought to confront abject poverty and medical
disenfranchisement. He believed a health center would not only provide much needed medical
relief and social services, but also a path toward community empowerment and direct citizen action.

People would lift themselves and their families out of poverty and bring their neighbors with them.

The community health centers were not the end – they were the means.

Located on an isolated and impoverished peninsula in Boston, Massachusetts, Columbia Point Health
Center, now known as Geiger Gibson Community Health Center, became the first operating community health
center in the nation when it opened in 1965.

Health center operations took place humbly inside a troubled public housing project basement; it was an area that even city ambulances did not venture without a police escort.

When the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy visited the health center in August 1966, he saw
how the lack of medical care gravely impacts a neighborhood and the promising
solution of Columbia Point Health Center. The visit had a profound effect on Kennedy’s thinking, as
he explained years later: “I have been a strong supporter of community health centers since the
inspiring day I visited the one that started it all…”

Harbor Health Services was formed as a 501 (c)(3) organization in 1985 when the Columbia Point and Neponset Health Center
came together in pursuit of their steadfast commitment to community health. Columbia Point was
officially renamed Geiger Gibson Community Health Center in honor of the men who started the
community health center movement.

Today, Harbor Health continues to respond to current and emerging health needs in communities not only
in Boston, but also on the South Shore and Cape Cod. More than 34,000 patients a year receive
care at Harbor’s five community health centers.

Harbor’s community health centers offer kind, caring, and affordable medical, dental, behavioral
health, pharmacy, and social support services. Harbor Health also operates two Program of All-
Inclusive Care for the Elderly in Mattapan and Brockton, providing comprehensive healthcare, transportation
and social services for more than 450 frail elders who continue to live with dignity and independence in
the community.

Learn more about our locations and services