The Bedford-Stuyvesant Family Health Center CEO, Patricia Fernandez, receives coveted Award.

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By Eulene Inniss

The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) held its 24th Annual Spring Gala at the enchanting Pier 60 in Chelsea on June 5th and honored BSFHC President/CEO Patricia R. Fernandez with the Excellence in Primary Care Award.

PCDC is a national community development financial institution with a history of over twenty years of investing in communities which need them the most. To date, it has invested more than $815 million in such communities. It empowers selected exemplary Primary Care organizations through capacity-building and strategic investment.

This recognition of BSFHC’s CEO was no small feat. It is a testament to the yeoman’s job Ms. Fernandez and her staff has done to highlight the accomplishments of BSFHC as they developed a blockbuster critical care center in the community to address the varied health challenges.

There was wall-to-wall support for Ms. Fernandez and the other two honorees: L. Reuven Pasternak, MD and CEO, Stony Brook University Hospital and Harvey C. Sigelbaum, JD- Senior Advisor, the Riverside Company, first-ever PCDC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The BSFHC Board of Directors, staff and community were there as proud representatives congratulating their consummate leader, Ms. Fernandez.

Ms. Fernandez’s success story is one that intertwines with the rigid demands of parenthood, personal drive and ambition. She migrated from her native Trinidad approximately twenty-five years ago and worked herself up from a Medical Assistant to her current CEO position.

Ms. Jean Caston-Black, Chair, Board of Directors of BSFHC, in her introduction of Ms. Fernandez and described her as a “pioneer and maverick in health care, instrumental in transforming the center from a state of bankruptcy to a state-of-the-art new building at 1456 Fulton Street in the hub of the community. Through her leadership, strength, tenacity and dedication, she earned the respect and unshakable trust of her staff, who voluntarily took pay cuts and stayed during the difficult financial period because the community needed them”. Ms. Black also presented Ms. Fernandez with a Certificate of Recognition from the Honorable Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City.

Ms. Fernandez believes that her experience as an immigrant, working her way through college, gave her better insight into the needs and struggles of the community she serves. She states that she “understands what’s best for the community. I know the heartbeat and culture of the institutions; BSFHC’s staff is modest, compassionate and determined. We moved from a cramped building to a state-of-the-art location. PCDC established a relationship with BSFHC, and although the road was rocky in the beginning, they took risks and BSFHC was granted its second-largest loan to an organization. They understood the unique needs of the community. I am overwhelmed and blessed to deliver quality health care to everyone who enters our doors”. She concluded.

Quality health care intricately intertwines with the living conditions and survival of a community. As stewards of public health and public trust, BSFHC is fulfilling its mission. Ms. Fernandez’s leadership is the key.