Community Health Centers 50th Anniversary Celebration

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NECO celebrates the First 50 Years of Partnerships with Community Health Centers in delivering healthcare for all. In cooperation with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.


Celebrating 50 Years of Community Health Center Partnerships

October 6, 2022

For 50 years, our faculty and student interns have proudly provided comprehensive eye care for communities throughout Massachusetts. Our optometrists practice in a collaborative health care model to optimize a patient’s well-being, as they train tomorrow’s optometrists to care for their communities and advocate for healthcare equity. NECO values our health center partners and we look forward to celebrating these collaborations with you.

Student working with patient at Charles River Health

Looking Back on 50 Years

In 1972, under the leadership of Dr. Charlie Mullen, NECO’s first health center partnerships were formed with Dorchester House, The Dimock Center and South End Community Health Center. The Mass League of Community Health Centers was also formed in 1972, and it was the beginning of NECO’s strong relationship with the Mass League.

In 1994, the first community health residency program in the country was established at the Dimock Center.

Today, in 2022, NECO’s health center network has provided over 1 million patient eye care visits, and includes 16 local health centers in various contract models.


Students at the Dimock Center

Our Community Health Center Partnerships Today

  • Charles River Community Health
  • The Dimock Center
  • Lynn Community Health Center
  • Holyoke Health Center
  • Martha Eliot Health Center
  • Codman Square Health Center
  • South Boston Community Health Center
  • East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
  • North End Waterfront Health
  •   Lowell Community Health Center
  •   Upham’s Corner Health Center
  •   DotHouse Health
  •   Cape Cod Community Health Center
  •   Manet Community Health Center
  •   Fenway Health
  •   Greater Roslindale Medical and Dental Center

Learn More about the CHCs and our shared history.


Roger Wilson OD Professor of Optometry 2004 at DotHouse

Award Winners

We proudly honor six NECO community members during this event. From faculty to community health advocates, our distinguished honorees have shown how dedication and accessibility can bring eye care to any community setting.

The honorees include Dr. Crystal Lewandowski ’13, Dr. Meng Meng Xu, Dr. Nicole Pogue, Dr. John Pietrantonio ’80, Dr. Roger Wilson ’80, and Baljot Saini (Class of 2024). The awards include: B. Andre Quamina Clinician Award, Community Health Excellence in Eye Care Award, Community Health Legacy Award, and Community Health Center Student Scholarship Award.

Read more about the awards and honorees. 


Consider making a donation. All donations ensure that NECO can continue to partner with Community Health Centers, providing high quality educational experiences and affordable eye care services to our most vulnerable community members. 

Thank you to our Sponsors!