Community Health Centers: Celebrating 50 Years of Quality Care!

As Community Health Centers, Inc. (CHC) celebrates 50 years, reflecting on the organization’s incredible journey is momentous. From its humble beginnings in a trailer to its expansive network of 17 centers across Central Florida, CHC has been a beacon of healthcare for the underserved. 

Photo of Board Members of Community Health Centers.
Left to Right: Melissa Singh, Board Member; Jerry Kassab, Board Member; Lewis Kellom, founding Board Member; Sister Ann Kendrick, Founder; Dr. Debra Andree, current President & Chief Executive Officer; and Timothy McKinney, Board Member.

A Legacy of Compassion and Quality Care

Originally founded in 1972 as the West Orange Farmworker Health Association (WOFHA), CHC’s mission has always been to provide quality and compassionate healthcare to Central Florida’s diverse communities. 

“We began in a trailer in Apopka with a Nurse’s Aide, a Medical Director, and an Administrative Director. In 1989, we changed our name to Community Health Centers,” says Dr. Debra Andree, CEO of CHC. “Fast forward 51 years, and we now serve nearly 70,000 patients annually with over 240,000 visits.”

Today, CHC employs nearly 600 team members and contributes more than $123.1 million in economic impact to the region. The organization’s growth is a testament to its commitment to expanding services and service areas. Dr. Andree explains the importance of internal and external communication in decisions like adopting electronic medical records in 2009, expanding telehealth services and using social media outlets during the pandemic. 

“We continue to expand our service sites to meet the growing need for access in Central Florida as the population increases,” she says. 

One of the service areas now includes the West Lakes community, as CHC has a health center at the Heart of West Lakes Wellness Center.

More Than Just a Medical Facility

CHC’s impact goes beyond medical services; it’s a cornerstone in the communities it serves. The organization prioritizes participating in community events like vision and dental screenings and assists individuals with access to healthcare services. Outreach is vital. 

“Our outreach team members visit patients in hospitals, newborn nurseries, and college campuses to connect patients back to the patient-centered medical and dental home,” Dr. Andree says. “This assists with avoiding unnecessary emergency room utilization and prolonged or repeated hospitalization while optimizing health outcomes.”

Continuing the Legacy at Community Health Centers

Focused on optimizing outcomes, CHC has a clear vision for the future. The vision includes prioritizing learning and well-being among its team to deliver exceptional patient care. It also addresses broader health determinants like financial sustainability by forming meaningful partnerships and community initiatives. CHC can invest in its people and programs through these steps, ensuring long-term commitment to high-quality healthcare.

“Enhancing access to care is a top priority for CHC,” says Dr. Andree. “We are continuously seeking opportunities to improve access, ensuring that individuals and families receive the care they need precisely when they need it most.”

Community Health Centers, Inc. continues to exemplify how dedication, compassion, and innovation can transform healthcare. Their success would not be possible without the support of the Central Florida community. 

“As a pediatrician and now President & CEO with Community Health Centers for over 20 years, I am grateful for all the patients and families that continue to look to us for hope and healing while being treated with individualized quality care. I am especially grateful for the relationships built over the years with families, team members, CHC board members, and our community partners,” Dr. Andree says.

CHC looks forward to continuing its mission of providing quality healthcare to Central Florida’s diverse communities. For more information, visit or call 407-905-8827 to schedule an appointment.


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Written by Alexis George

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