By: Dubravka Kolumbic
Burlington County Times, Correspondent
MOORESTOWN — Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers Inc. is the recipient of this year’s Burlington County Times Good-Doers award. The nonprofit health services provider garnered the most votes via an online BCT readers’ poll. As a result, the newspaper will work with the organization to produce a three-minute public service announcement.
“We’re ecstatic,” CEO Linda Flake said. “It’s always great to be appreciated, to be recognized. It’s encouraging.”
For nearly 40 years, the federally funded group has been providing primary and preventive health services to South Jersey residents who are either uninsured or may not be able to afford such care, going so far as to offer transportation to and from appointments, translation services, and certified application counselors who can help with health care applications and charity care appointments.
Flake expressed gratitude for the award and the added publicity for the organization.
“We’re here, and we’re here to provide a service to the community, and it emphasizes that that much more,” she said.
Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers recently completed major renovations to its facility on High Street in Burlington City, which will allow the organization to serve up to 12,000 more patients. The PSA will help spread word of the organization’s services throughout the community, Flake said.
“Having the services available is one thing,” she said, “but having the community know that it’s available is another thing. That public service announcement is going to help people in the community recognize that there is an organization available that can provide them primary medical, dental and behavioral health services. It helps improve visibility and our presence in the community.”
Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers was started in 1977 with the goal of providing health services to migrant farmworkers in Salem and Atlantic counties. Since then, it has expanded into three counties and employs a staff of 250 serving over 51,000 patients at seven sites, including migrant worker outreach programs in Gloucester and Camden counties. The services offered have also grown to include dental, pediatric and women’s health care; behavioral health and podiatry. The centers also work with other health specialists to ensure their patients receive the full spectrum of care they need.
“The acknowledgment really encourages and supports and emphasizes our providers and our staff,” Flake said. “It’s really nice to be recognized and appreciated.”
Flake pointed out that for all the good Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers does, the job can be overwhelming at times for the staff. Winning the Good-Doers contest validates their hard work.
“These are some of the things that are nice about having a job that provides some intrinsic rewards, and this is intrinsic,” she said. “There is a monetary value associated with it, but it provides a lot of mileage toward the satisfaction of the staff and recognition of the good work they are doing.”
The other Good-Doers finalists were the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Burlington County, It Takes A Village, Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey and the Pinelands Family Success Center.