After years of having to pay for transportation to cross the Anacostia River to receive health care, residents of Wards 7 and 8, largely disconnected by the Anacostia River from D.C.’s high-quality health facilities, have a new option.
The Michelle Obama Southeast Center of Bread for the City, located at 1700 Good Hope Road SE, opened its doors Monday. The facility offers primary care, dental services, vision services and behavioral services, as well as examinations, medications and lab tests. The Obama Center is a federally qualified community health center, which means that federal funding supports the center, providing low-barrier healthcare to all residents. All patients will be seen, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay, Bread for the City spokesperson Kenrick Thomas said.
Opening the medical center east of the Anacostia River was done strategically, according to Bread for the City’s press release. Access to quality healthcare has been a major obstacle for clients in the Southeast, a region of the District that has been fighting poverty for years. That poverty, geographically connected to lower-quality environmental conditions, means the need for medical care is higher in this area, based on research by the D.C. Policy Center. That organization has also shown reduced access to pharmacies and common medication in Southeast D.C. Providing a medical center in the backyards of clients reduces the need for transportation, which is especially hard to find for low-income residents.
A northwest Bread for the City is in Ward 2 at 1525 7th Street NW. Both facilities provide medical services, free groceries, and clothing and toiletry packs. Donations and volunteers make possible distribution of food and personal items, at no charge.