Catherine’s Health Center: Community Care for Creston Residents

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Catherine’s Health Center: Community Care for Creston Residents

Adapted by Alex Valentine with permission from Catherine’s Health Center,

In 1993, Creston Neighborhood made preventative health care a top priority as concerns about access to health care continued to arise in the neighborhood. With support from St. Mary’s Health Services and Neighbors of Belknap Lookout, CNA developed “Senior Care Day” as part of a larger program intended to bring additional preventative care to the neighborhood. This program included free flu shots and health screenings, the development of a “Mobile Health Center, and the addition of a column to the CNA newsletter to update the neighborhood on health news and information. 

Neighbors help move medical equipment into the St. Alphonsus Parish basement.

While these programs were successful, many in the neighborhood still lacked affordable healthcare. To help meet these needs, CNA partnered with St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Alphonsus Parish to establish Catherine’s Care Center in the basement of St Alphonsus Parish. Opening its doors on February 29th, 1996, this successful nurse-run clinic brought essential immunizations, health education, and screenings to the neighborhood, with intermittent physician support provided by St. Mary’s. As time went on, Catherine’s Care Center continued to grow: the number of patients served quadrupled by 2001. Thanks to Dr. John Walen, Catherine’s was able to provide regularly-scheduled physician appointments. 


In 2009, Catherine’s Care Center was renamed Catherine’s Health Center. In 2011, the center relocated to a renovated (and LEED® Gold certified) section of the former St. Alphonsus School at 1211 Lafayette Ave. NE. In 2013, the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan awarded Catherine’s the Torch Award for Ethics. Catherine’s Health Center continues to provide free and low-cost medical services to the grateful residents of the Creston neighborhood and the larger Grand Rapids community. 

This article is part of a history series, created in commemoration of the Creston Neighborhood Association’s 40th anniversary, in partnership with Michigan Humanities and the Calvin University History Department

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