As the story notes, the Hub is a “first-of-its-kind facility that confronts two crisis of the city’s West Side and the greater region: poor access to healthcare and a loss of healthcare providers.
Equipped with a community health clinic operated by project partner Catholic Health, the Health Professions Hub will serve a neighborhood where poverty rates are among the highest in the city. Access to reliable and affordable health care is often elusive to the area’s residents, a group that includes a large Hispanic population (before that, Italian) and a sizable number of refugees and immigrants from Somalia, Congo, Iraq, Myanmar, Sudan, and elsewhere. Chronic health conditions like diabetes run rampant in the community as does food insecurity.
Anchored by a ground-floor clinic and flanked by ancillary care components including a pharmacy and dietetics demo kitchen, the Health Professions Hub tackles the inequities plaguing the West Side by improving healthcare access, providing educational opportunities, and generating new jobs for local residents.
The Health Professions Hub will also be a workforce teaching center for D’Youville’s healthcare and nursing schools. The Buffalo-Niagara region is bracing for a 10,000-person deficit in healthcare workers by 2024. The building will be outfitted with state-of-the-art learning tools to better train future generations of healthcare professionals who, ideally, will stick around and curb the impending shortage of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dietitians, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, administrators, and educators.
The full story is available online. Below are additional key excerpts:
On the project’s significance related to health equity
“The Hub won’t simply provide healthcare to Buffalo’s West Side community. It will be where members of the community learn how to deliver that care in the future,” said Dr. Lorrie Clemo, president of D’Youville College, when asked about the facility’s expansive yet grounded-in-the-community scope. “This building promises to provide economic opportunity and reshape the workforce to fill in-demand health jobs locally and nationally. The opportunity for health equity and economic opportunity as a result of the Hub is significant. We are already working with local high schools to build interest in health careers and ensure the positive economic impact starts now and spans generations.”
On the project’s public art integration
To better establish the all-important street-level connection between The Hub and the neighborhood, CannonDesign worked with, among others, Aaron Ott, inaugural public art curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, to develop a site-specific public art concept revolving around community participation.
“Community engagement and community involvement fold so nicely together with public art,” said Michael Tunkey, Principal for the project, and a Buffalo native who sits on the Public Art Committee at Albright-Knox and on the board of directors at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, another arts organization in Buffalo. We also have plans for another major art project at the building—a mural—and we’re still in the process of selecting the artist,” Tunkey said. “And from there, we hope to keep expanding across the campus so that [public art] becomes a major element of campus life.”