“We are here to celebrate victory.” With those words, former mayor and Manchester, New Hampshire icon Sylvio L. DuPuis ’11 (Hon.) opened the formal dedication ceremony of MCPHS University’s newest achievement: an optometry clinic built in collaboration with the Manchester Community Health Center, with generous funding support provided by Northeast Delta Dental Foundation, the McIninch Foundation, and Catholic Medical Center.
Housed across the street from MCPHS’s Elm Street campus, the Eye Care Center at MCHC offers affordable vision services to patients ages five and older, regardless of their ability to pay. “This center will serve those who fall between the cracks due to socioeconomic factors, distance, or insurance coverage,” said Morris Berman, OD, Dean of the School of Optometry. “Our goal is to provide quality eye care, delivered with compassion.”
The benefits of the new center don’t end with the 16,000 Manchester residents who will gain access to affordable eye care. “This effort is a rising tide which lifts all boats,” said Kris McCracken, president & CEO of the MCHC. Using an innovative model which the New Hampshire Union Leader calls “visionary,” the Eye Care Center offers clinical placements to MCPHS optometry students who need patient care experience in order to graduate. “This is truly a win-win,” said the Honorable Joyce Craig, current mayor of Manchester, adding, “our community is going to benefit.” Tom Raffio, president and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental, one of the benefactors behind the new center, agreed: “This truly is a partnership where everyone wins.”
“MCHC is very important to our vision,” said MCPHS President Charles F. Monahan Jr. BSP ’62, a driving force behind the partnership. “We have big plans for the city, we want to expand here, and form new partnerships, and so far it’s been a big success. We look forward to this partnership, and to bringing more to Manchester.”
All speakers at the dedication ceremony acknowledged the crucial role of Syl DuPuis, whose energy, tireless optimism, and seemingly endless knowledge of Manchester kept the project moving forward on a very tight eighteen-month timeline. “I think it took Syl about a minute and twenty seconds to convince me to help,” joked Raffio. “I am inspired by the collective impact we can all make here.” DuPuis himself was modest about his contribution, noting that a community health center is always a team effort, and that “vision, without resources, is hallucination.”
Following a tour of the new facility, assembled guests cheered a milestone; the ribbon-cutting that marked the Center’s formal opening. A round of emotional applause followed the cutting as guests reflected on the effort and resources that had made this day possible. Aptly for such a visionary, Syl DuPuis left the group on a hopeful and forward-looking note: “Rush towards change and embrace it, for that is where the future is.”
With the opening of the Eye Care Center at MCHC, a vision has been achieved, and a little bit of the future has arrived.