Charles River Community Health’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of the communities of Allston, Brighton, Waltham and surrounding areas by providing quality, comprehensive, coordinated care that is patient-centered, family friendly, and community focused. In 1968, several committed community residents joined forces to assess the health care needs of their neighbors in Allston/Brighton. The group, under the leadership of Allston resident Joseph M. Smith, talked with neighbors and residents about their health care needs and their difficulties finding appropriate care. They documented the lack of access to affordable primary care health services for many Allston/Brighton residents, despite the wealth of medical resources in Boston.
Engaging City and Federal officials, the group began planning a community health center which would provide all neighborhood residents with a health center that was designed to serve the community. The group’s vision was realized in 1974 when the health center opened a clinic in a local housing development in Allston to serve the community with compassionate, comprehensive health care. In 1979, the health center was renamed the Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, in honor of Joe Smith’s efforts on behalf of the community and as a reminder of the community’s achievement in creating this important health resource. The Center flourished, outgrew several locations in Allston, and still evolves to meet the changing needs of the community. In response to growing community need, as well as the closure of Waltham Hospital, in 2004 the Center opened a site in Waltham. In the spring of 2008, expanding its reach into the community still further, the Center opened satellite sites at the Jackson-Mann School and Gardner Pilot Academy, both Boston Public Schools in Allston. In Fall 2015, the health center opened the Joseph M. Smith Building in Brighton, a beautiful, new, state-of-the-art facility to bring expanded care to all in the community.
Since the health center opened in 1974, it has remained true to its mission and has evolved to reflect the needs of its patients and of residents of Allston/Brighton, Waltham and surrounding communities. The spirit and enthusiasm upon which the neighborhood center was founded is evident in the Center’s approach to its delivery of health care services to each individual who walks through its doors. The Center remains committed to ensuring that all people have the opportunity to lead a full, healthy and productive life, continuing the spirit and sense of community that inspired the original Allston/Brighton founders.