By Bill Parry
Planned Parenthood of New York City will begin construction on its first health center in Queens next month.
The new facility will take over a former hardware store and office building, at 21-41 45th Road, just a block from the Court Square subway station in Long Island City.
“The new health center will strengthen our ability to provide Queens residents with the essential reproductive health care services they need,” Planned Parenthood of New York City President Joan Malin said.
Nearly 4,500 of the organization’s patients live in Queens, and Planned Parenthood expects to serve 17,500 patients annually when the center opens next year.
Access to affordable health care is an imperative for Queens residents because of hospital closures and budget cuts to safety net providers. The most recent census data show that one in five women in Queens do not have health insurance, while many face cultural and linguistic barriers to accessing care as well as high rates of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, according to Planned Parenthood.
“For nearly 100 years, New Yorkers from all five boroughs have relied on Planned Parenthood of New York for comprehensive reproductive health care and information, including life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, abortions and routine gynecological care,” Malin said. “The new health center will strengthen our ability to provide Queens residents with the essential reproductive health care services they need.”
The two-story facility will feature a conference center and administrative space on the first floor with a health center on the second floor. PPNYC has maintained a footprint in the borough working with organizations like Queens Library, Sunnyside Community Services and the Elmhurst-based South Asian Youth Action to develop educational programs ensuring that parents and young people have access to sexual and reproductive health information.
“I am very glad to hear that Planned Parenthood of New York City will be opening a health center in Queens,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “This new health center is very much appreciated, especially in light of the recent closing of several of our borough’s hospitals. It will help guarantee that all 2.3 million of our borough’s residents will be able to get quality health care when they need it.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.