YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Family First Health, a community health center with locations in York and Adams counties, is celebrating its 45th anniversary in York.

Founded in response to the York Charrette and as one of the nation’s first community health centers, it began as a way to address the health care needs of underserved populations.

“We are a federally qualified health center. That means that we have a special interest in serving all members of the community, ensuring that primary care is fully accessible and available for all members of the community,” CEO Jenny Englerth said.

Over 45 years, that’s meant a lot of different things.

“We really go the extra mile to make sure that people get the full continuum of care based out of our family practice offices,” Englerth said.

If someone is uninsured or has a low income, they can discount the cost of their care, or if a person needs help with another language or transportation to see a specialist.

But they say health isn’t determined in an exam room.

“It doesn’t happen where we’re sitting right now. Where we’re sitting right now gives people some of the tools and information that they need, and as an important part of overall health, but the health of an individual is really determined outside of the physician office,” Englerth said.

Daisy Olan works at Family First and was enrolled in their Nurse-Family Partnership program.

“They were always looking out and making sure that I had the resources that I needed, and if I had any challenges I was able to reach out to one of them and they would help me. Not even just my nurse, just any of the girls were available to me to help me,” Olan said.

Olan says nurses and medical staff came to her home to ensure she was ready to give birth.

“As a first-time mom, you try to prepare. You take classes, but once your child is born it’s a whole different story,” Olan said.

Annually, Family First Health provides care to 24,000 people and provides them with about 85,000 medical and dental visits. Ten years ago, they only had 10,000 patients.

“We were the first response to that period of time in the late 1960’s that really was able to engage people in making their community better. And the very first thing that was identified was the need for health care in the city and we were there to respond,” Englerth said.

Moving forward the health center’s focus is on deepening its impact in the community and engaging patients so they are the healthiest they can be.