Celebrating 20 Years on 18th Street
20 years ago this March, Callen-Lorde moved from a small suite at 208 West 13th Street into our current headquarters, located at 356 West 18th St in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. It was a long road to have our own dedicated space, and an even longer one to where we are today – a fully recognized, federally qualified health center with three locations – soon to be four, in Brooklyn.
The story goes like this: on Friday, February 27, 1998, we packed up at our previous space, which was an approximately 3,500 square foot suite (just a bit larger than our Bronx site) on the second floor of The LGBT Center on West 13th Street. On Monday, we opened up operations on West 18th St. At the time, the organization had about 35-40 paid staff – some of whom are still here today – and we thought we’d never grow big enough to fill the new space. Clearly, we were wrong.
Our move into the 18th Street building also marked the change of our name from Community Health Project, Inc. to Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, named for AIDS activist Michael Callen and “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde. It also marked our transition from paper medical records to an electronic health record, making us one of the earliest adopters of this technology, especially among community health centers.
Over the years the building has undergone many reconceptions to enable us to expand capacity, and best meet the needs of our communities. And again, we will be embarking on a renovation process to better serve our patients and staff. You can read more about those changes here.
Today, we celebrate how far we have come, and we look forward to our next chapter – Callen-Lorde Brooklyn coming in 2019.
Thank you to our incredible staff, patients and community members for helping us get where we are today.