Tribute to Nita M. Lowey

Representative Nita M. Lowey

Open Door Renames School-Based Health Centers In Honor Of Congresswoman Nita Lowey


The Open Door Family Medical Center’s School-Based Health Center Program will become known as the Nita M. Lowey Center for Health in Schools.

The program provides primary health care services for students in elementary, middle and high schools in Port Chester and Ossining. Services are available regardless of a family’s ability to pay and there are no out-of-pocket costs.

“The name change pays tribute to our long-standing partnership with Congresswoman Lowey, who has been a major supporter of the Open Door since the program’s beginning,” said Lindsay Farrell, President and CEO of Open Door. “She has been instrumental in securing the funding for the launch and growth of our School-Based Health Center program over many years.”

“Thank you for your support of school-based health centers, they have had a tremendous impact on the lives of the students again in our school district, it is an invaluable resource for schools and for our community.”  — Dr. Ray Sanchez, Superintendent, Ossining School District

“Thank you, Mrs. Lowey, for your dedication, support and tireless advocacy in making school-based health centers a reality for all students… and for supporting our common vision of healthy students, healthy school, and healthy communities.” — Rosa Taylor, Principal, Park Avenue School, Port Chester

Nita Lowey represented parts of Westchester, Rockland, the Bronx and Queens in Congress from 1989 until her retirement in January, and most recently served as Chair of the House’s Appropriations Committee. Prior to this, she was Assistant Secretary of State in New York State for 13 years.

“Nita is the type of person who is so connected to families and communities and she hears the calls of those people and responds. I think she is truly an inspiration for so many people that believe that health equity transforms people’s lives.”  – Andrea Ruggiero, Executive Vice President of Community Health

“I cannot believe that it has been more than 20 years since securing federal funding for the School-Based Health Center at Thomas Edison elementary school,” said Rep. Lowey. Congressman Steny H. Hoyer and Lowey had the idea to bring community health centers into local schools — creating full-service community schools that would ensure every student had access to the healthcare they need to succeed. “These children will lead our community for years to come and inspire me every day.”

“By supporting School-Based Health Centers, you’re building the foundation so all children can come to school healthy and ready to learn.”  — Dr. Eileen Santiago, Retired Edison School Principal

Open Door’s Care Team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, medical assistants and health educators work collaboratively with school nurses to provide comprehensive medical services to students where they are enrolled. Services include physical exams, laboratory tests, nutritional counseling, immunizations, sick care, management of chronic illnesses like asthma and diabetes, mental health screenings, dental screenings and sports physicals.

School-Based Health Centers emerged in the 1970s in recognition of the increasing number of children and adolescents who lacked access to health care but also needed care that was age-sensitive, confidential, safe and geographically accessible. Studies have shown that SBHCs reduce inappropriate use of emergency rooms and increase appropriate use of medical and mental health services. In addition, they have been shown to positively impact the mental health of students and reduce hospitalization rates.

Nita was our dedicated Congressperson for many years. She looked out for our nation and our neighborhood.  She supported her health care constituents wholeheartedly.  That included her resolute commitment and support for Open Door.  She helped bring quality health care to friends and neighbors in our community who could not otherwise afford it by always representing us so well in Washington. As a staunch supporter of Open Door Family Medical Centers and as a personal friend, we thank her for her many years of service, kindness and friendship.  – All good wishes, Joyce and Paul Rheingold

SBHC’s eliminate waiting time at doctor’s offices and transportation to and from appointments for children and their parents. They reduce absenteeism since students do not have to leave school to receive care. They support high-need students by providing personalized medical care and counseling. Staff knows the students and the school’s culture and so can address health and wellness issues from an insider’s perspective. They assist with assessments and treatments of some learning-related disorders.

To learn more about the Nita M. Lowey Center for Health in Schools, please visit:

About Open Door Family Medical Center and Foundation
Open Door Family Medical Center provides health care and wellness programs to individuals and families in need throughout Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster Counties. A pioneer Federally Qualified Health Center, Open Door provides more than 300,000 patient visits annually and serves 63,000 individual patients who might not otherwise have access. Open Door offers integrated services and a holistic approach to building healthier communities. Primary medical care, dental care, integrated behavioral health care, clinical nutrition, wellness programs, and chronic disease management are the foundation of its clinical programs. Founded as a free clinic in 1972, Open Door’s mission of building healthier communities through accessible, equitable, culturally competent health care has led to site and service expansions. Today, Open Door operates centers in Brewster, Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, Ossining, Port Chester, and Sleepy Hollow, in addition to nine School-Based Health Centers in the Port Chester, Webutuck, and Ossining School Districts, a mobile dental van in Mount Kisco, and a dental practice in Saugerties, NY. Open Door is accredited by the Joint Commission and is recognized by the National Committee on Quality Assurance as a Patient-Centered Medical Home. Open Door achieves clinical results that consistently surpass national benchmarks for patient outcomes. For additional information, please contact Elisabeth Gilbert, Senior Director of Development, at 914-502-1417.

Latest Posts

Open Door thanks All Partners of the Healthier Mamaroneck Fair

The Healthier Mamaroneck Access to Care Health Fair is in partnership with members of the Healthier Mamaroneck Coalition and is …

Read More
A Reminder: Adults Also Need to get Vaccinated

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a time when many parents of school-aged children get their children vaccinated. While most …

Read More
Open Door Family Medical Center | Affordable nutritional health services
WIC Program Directors Share their Stories

  In honor of Breastfeeding Week, we would like to share two stories from our WIC staff. Gina Devito: The …

Read More