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History

"It all started as a simple health clinic operating out of a single-wide trailer in Apopka back in December 1972. We have come a long way since then."

Sister Ann Kendrick
Doors Opened in 1972

Opened our doors as a simple non-profit health clinic operating out of a single-wide trailer in Apopka back in December 1972.

Expanded Services in 1979

Dental care and maternity services were added in 1979, with additional facility improvements, including expanded dental, x-ray, and pharmacy services.

Name Change in 1989

WOFHA received accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization in 1989 and a name change to Community Health Centers, Inc., soon followed.

The Humble Beginnings of Community Health Centers

Originally called the West Orange Farmworker Health Association (WOFHA), we incorporated in 1972 as a non-profit health organization “to be operated by and for its consumers.” Although experiencing many obstacles and opposition, the WOFHA secured a federal grant and opened a clinic in a trailer donated by the Catholic Diocese of Orlando. 

The Apopka Farmworker Clinic began operation under the leadership of Sister Cathy Gorman, Sister Ann Kendrick, Sister Teresa McElwee, and Sister Gail Grimes, all members of Notre Dame de Namur order of Catholic Nuns, in 1973. Their mission was to provide the underserved in the community access to the healthcare they couldn’t afford. 

The original staff only included a Nurse’s Aide, a Medical Director, and an Administrative Director.

 

Expanding Our Reach Throughout Central Florida

After outgrowing the trailer, a permanent health center was constructed in 1978 at the corner of Forest Avenue and Seventh Street in Apopka on land donated by members of the Presbyterian Church in Maitland. The trailer was put to good use and moved to Groveland to serve south Lake County. Dental care and maternity services were added in 1979. Improvements to the facility, including a modern dental suite and expanded x-ray and pharmacy areas, were added in the early 1980s.

In 1986, WOFHA opened its third location in Winter Garden and the organization began to grow with an increase in medical providers and offering extended hours. WOFHA received accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization in 1989 and a name change to Community Health Centers, Inc., soon followed.

During the mid-1990s, CHC saw the opening of the Leesburg Women’s Health Center, Leesburg Family Health Center, and the Apopka Children’s Health Center. In the early 2000s, the Pine Hills Family Health Center began providing services, the Eatonville Family Health Center opened, Winter Garden Family, Children’s and Dental Health Center relocated to where they are today and the Corporate office moved from Apopka to Winter Garden. During the mid-2000s, the organization began to grow even more and expanded the Pine Hills Family Health Center to a larger facility, added Pediatric Dental services to the site, and opened the Lake Ellenor Dental Clinic.

Community Health Centers is proud to have received accreditation from the prestigious Accreditation Association of Ambulatory Health Center, Inc (AAAHC). In an effort to create brand awareness and recognition, we changed our center names to include our corporate name, Community Health Centers.

Our history proves our commitment to expand our services and service area. We continue to look for areas in need to serve the uninsured, underinsured and insured alike.

History by the Year

1972
1972

West Orange Farmworkers Health Association founded

West Orange Farmworkers Health Association founded by local farmworkers, consumer activists, and the Sisters of Notre Dame saw the need to help the underprivileged in the area.

1973
1973
Original Trailer of Community Health Centers

Clinic Opened in Apopka

The farmworkers trailer clinic opened in Apopka. The first medical team consisted of a doctor, nurse, and assistant.

1976
1976

Clinic Opened in Apopka

Bishop Borders Satellite Health Center opened to serve Winter Garden area farmworkers and residents. Dental care was also provided. That same year West Orange Farmworkers Health Association became a comprehensive primary care model, expanding to include pharmacy, laboratory, and dental services.

1978
1978

First Permanent Center

Our first permanent health center was constructed in Apopka, where it still is to this present day. The Apopka trailer clinic was relocated to serve farmworkers in Groveland.

1979
1979

Childbirth Services

Childbirth services initiated at the Apopka Family Health Center with deliveries at Advent Health and dental services were added.

1983
1983

Groveland Family Health Center

Permanent Groveland Family Health Center was constructed. Patient contributions and farmworker fundraising led by board members provided the funds to furnish the new center.

1986
1986

Hospital Service Rotation

All sites increased medical staff to create hospital service rotation.

1989
1989

Accreditation by the JACHO

Accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations makes us Florida’s first and only JACHO accredited community health organization.

1990
1990

Community Health Centers, Inc.

West Orange Farmworkers Health Association changes its name to Community Health Centers, Inc., to better reflect our mission of service to all the community.

1992
1992

Winter Garden Health Center Opened

Winter Garden Children’s Health Center opened to provide children services in a supportive and caring environment. Community Health Centers – County Public Health services integrated to include outreach, early enrollment, teen pregnancy classes, drug treatment, and March of Dimes Community Support Network.

1993
1993

Leesburg Women's Health Center Opens

Leesburg Women’s Health Center opens for service. Community Health Centers initiates Community Relations Program with priority goals of educating Medicaid and Medicare recipients and area employers.

1995
1995

Leesburg Family Health Center Opened

1996
1996

Apopka Children’s Health Center Opened

2000
2000

Pine Hills Partnership

Pine Hills Family Health Center, a public-private partnership, began providing services.

2001
2001

Eatonville Family Health Center Opened

2002
2002

Health Alliance Family Care Center opens

Health Alliance Family Care Center opens – Winter Garden Family and Children’s Health Center relocated into the new 22,000 square-foot facilities, and CHC corporate headquarters moved from Apopka to Winter Garden.

2004
2004

Pine Hills Family Health Center Relocated

The Pine Hills Family Health Center relocated into the Princeton Plaza, expanding from a 4,000 sq. ft. facility into a 19,155 sq. ft. space & added Pediatric Dental services.

2007
2007

Lake Ellenor Dental Clinic opened offering Pediatric & Adult Dental services.

2011
2011

Apopka Dental Center

Apopka Dental Center offering Pediatric and Adult dental services open. Our new health center opens in Groveland, offering Family Medicine, Pediatric Medicine, Dental, and Pharmacy. Bithlo Child and Adult Medical Care open.

2012
2012

Meadow Woods Children’s Medical & Dental Care Opened

2014
2014

Winter Garden Health Center Relocated

Winter Garden Child, Adult Medical & Dental Care has been relocated to a more accessible and larger center offering evening and Saturday hours. Added services include Optometry and children’s dental.

2015
2015

Tavares Child • Adult Medical & Dental Care Opened

2016
2016

Forest City Child • Adult Medical & Dental Care Opened

2017
2017

Pine Hills Health Center Relocated

Community Health Centers – Pine Hills relocated to its own building at 840 Mercy Drive, less than two miles East of their previous location.

2020
2020

Community Health Centers – Four Corners Opened

Community Health Centers – Four Corners opened in Cagan Crossings at 509 Cagan View Road, Clermont in south Lake County.

2021
2021

Community Health Centers – Bithlo Expansion

Community Health Centers – Bithlo expands to offer even more services to East Orlando patients. These services include Family Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, and Specialty care.

4.7

4.7/5

70,000+ Healthy Patients

Rating calculated using an average of internal patient surveys across all locations.

Orange County

Lake County