By John Lynds
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, paid a visit to East Boston Neighborhood Health Center last Wednesday afternoon to gain insight on how the Health Center’s programs benefit the community while staying true to its mission of delivering quality health care to people who may not have the ability of means to pay.
“It was an inspiring visit to EBNHC by Professor Yunus,” said EBNHC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jackie Fantes. “We are very pleased and honored that he was able to visit our health center. He has done amazing work in helping the underserved and shares in our mission. As a primary care physician and leader in a community health center, I share in his passion for providing primary care for everyone.”
Dr. Yunus, a social entrepreneur who pioneered banking concepts that helped the very poor in his home country of Bangladesh, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work supporting the underserved. He also received the United States Medal of Freedom in 2009 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.
Dr. Yunus is interested in starting community health centers in other parts of the world, and was in the country to see how EBNHC has become the model for health centers in the region. He, along with guests from Becker College, toured EBNHC’s Emergency Department, Women’s Health, and other Primary Care Departments.
“I was amazed at how many of our staff knew of Professor Yunus’s work,” said EBNHC’s Head of Emergency Department, Dr. Stylianos Maheras. “From East Boston to Bangladesh, there are so many incredible people committed to helping the underserved with health issues.”
Dr. Yunus, a social entrepreneur, banker, economist and civil society leader, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. These loans are given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. In 2006, Yunus and the Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts through microcredit to create economic and social development from below”. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that “lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty” and that “across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development”.
“We are grateful to Professor Yunus and the staff from Becker College visiting and spending so much time here at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center,” said EBNHC CEO Manny Lopes. “Professor Yunus’s commitment to the people of Bangladesh is so commendable and it was a big thrill for our staff to meet someone of his stature so passionate about treating the underserved.”