Community Health of South Florida Inc. (CHI) has grown into a large network of 10 health centers and 42 school-based centers with comprehensive services. But none of this growth would have been possible if its founder Doris Ison hadn’t planted the seed for the nonprofit healthcare company back in 1971.
At the time, African-Americans were not allowed at the nearest hospital in Homestead. Many died en route to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
With just a third grade education, Ison compelled doctors to volunteer their time and provide healthcare out of two double-wide trailers. From there, she convinced lawmakers to invest in the federally qualified health center and the rest is history.
CHI will honor its founder on Friday, Feb. 27, at 10 a.m., with a special celebration open to the public at the Doris Ison Health Center, 10300 SW 216 St. CHI will take a look back at its rich history ignited by Ison’s dream. Her family will be present and her grandson, Brian C. Lucas, DM, will be one of several speakers. The free celebration will include entertainment, refreshments, a multi-media presentation and historical exhibits.
RSVP for the free event by calling 305-252-4853.
“Doris Ison’s story is one of triumph and inspiration for us all,” said Col. Brodes H. Hartley Jr., CHI’s president and CEO. “She planted the seed so that CHI could grow and, today, we are still growing. We hope the community will join us for this special celebration during Black History Month.”
Today, CHI provides healthcare to people of all ethnicities and economic backgrounds. CHI services include primary care, pediatrics, women’s services, radiology, behavioral health, dental, pharmacy and more to both the insured and uninsured in South Florida and the Keys.