Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski joined County officials and community leaders last week to celebrate the opening of the new, state-of-the-art Woodlawn Health Center at the O.W.E. Center at Security Square Mall.
Construction on the $1.5 million project began in December 2020. At 8,000 square feet, the new health center more than doubles the size of its previous location at the Woodlawn Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. Baltimore County officials said that location was the county’s smallest but busiest health center, accounting for nearly 25% of all patients served by the County’s eight health centers.
Brought about by a partnership between Baltimore County and the Set the Captives Free Outreach Center, the health center’s new location will serve as a one-stop shop for Westside residents. In addition to providing an expanded modern health care setting for patients, the center also houses Woodlawn WIC services.
“Everyone deserves access to quality healthcare options and community health centers serve as a critical safety-net for so many, providing essential care to those who often need help the most,” Olszewski said. “Through this first-of-its-kind partnership with a vital community partner, Baltimore County is now better equipped to ensure more equitable access to health services and improve health outcomes for our most vulnerable residents. We are grateful to Pastor Karen Bethea and Set the Captives Free for their commitment to and partnership in supporting public health.”
The O.W.E. Center is a community service hub managed by the Set the Captives Free Outreach Center and has a food pantry supported by the Maryland Food Bank, supermarkets, as well as a community conference room available for community association meetings.
“We are so proud to partner with the County to relocate their Health Center, and we look forward to expanding the community services at the O.W.E Center, including adding a youth center, a 24 hour daycare, a workforce development center, and more,” said Dr. Karen Stanley Bethea, senior pastor of Set the Captives Free Outreach Center. “We are here to meet the needs of our residents and lift up our community, and we’re excited to continue building on this work in the years ahead.”
Providing a comprehensive, easily accessible healthcare hub for Westside residents has also been a long-term goal of Dr. Gregory William Branch, Director of Heath and Human Services and Baltimore County Health Officer. He views the opening of the new facility as a positive step toward removing barriers to essential services, bettering community education and outreach efforts, and improving health outcomes in the community.
For more information about the new Woodlawn Health Center, view Baltimore’s County’s official press release.