Our History

Hamilton Health Center’s History 

Our first location opened to provide WIC, medical, and dental services to the residents of the Allison Hill areaOur history is steeped in powerful community building and shared vision for growth. Indeed, it is hard to believe that Hamilton began over fifty years ago in the basement of a church. Though many things have changed, one thing has remained constant: our mission.

The mission of Hamilton Health Center, Inc. is to improve the health of Central Pennsylvania’s residents. For instance, Hamilton delivers high quality, respectful and patient-centered care. In addition we provide social services that promote access, treatment, education, and prevention regardless of income or insurance status.


A Vision for the Community

Our vision is that every member of our community receives holistic and high quality healthcare. With this mission, our goal is to create a healthy community for all.  For over forty-five years we have been true to these words.  

The 90s brought about major change for Hamilton Health Center. For example, the Walnut Street site was opened for service to provide WIC, medical, and dental services to the residents of the Allison Hill area. Furthermore, with the assistance of former PA Governor George Leader, school based clinics were begun in 1995 and 1996.

Expansion and Growth

In 2008 our Board and Executive Staff recognized the need for Hamilton Health Center to meet the growing needs of our community and began planning to acquire a larger, more modern facility.  In September 2012 Phase I opened, providing dental exam rooms, women’s services and adult medicine departments, a community room, WIC area, Pharmacy Services and Quest Diagnostic full service laboratory.

Phase Two of our Capital Campaign increased our size by Hamilton health center in harrisburg pacreating two floors in the undeveloped wing of our new building. With this expansion we are now able to incorporate a full pediatrics department, social services, mental health services and expansion of our HIV/AIDS program under one roof.  

On account of the Phase Two campaign, we now have a resource room whereby patients can access our patient navigators and enroll in health insurance and research health topics on desk top computers.  What’s more, today the second floor houses our administrative offices, a board room and training rooms. It’s a one-stop state of the art medical center that provides medical, dental, and social support in a safe atmosphere. 

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Our Journey So Far . . . 

The growth of Hamilton is rooted in strong community support. As a result, Hamilton became, and remains today, the only Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) within a 30 mile radius of Harrisburg. Below is a timeline of the story of Hamilton so far. To contribute to our journey, donate today


The Hamilton journey began when community OurHistory2leaders Mrs. Sarah Jones, Mr. Lorenzo Roland Sr., Mrs. Coleen Ivey, Dr. Claude Nichols, Mr. William Schirmer and Mr. Peter G. Alapas turned their vision to reality with a part-time clinic staffed by Harrisburg Hospital personnel in the basement of the former Augsburg Lutheran Church. Further, the organizers recognized the importance of the clinic and began to explore longer term funding sources.


With the technical assistance of Harrisburg Hospital, Hamilton applied for and received a $1.25 million grant from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to provide health services in 1972. Moreover, 265 volunteers from the Greater Harrisburg area participated in a fundraising drive to purchase and renovate the Augsburg Lutheran Church Education Center at 1821 Fulton Street in Harrisburg. **


Hamilton’s Board of Directors appoints Dr. Walter Kirker as its first medical director.


Renovations were completed and Hamilton began offering full-time services in its new center.


Hamilton expands its scope of services to include the WIC program serving all of Dauphin County.


Hamilton becomes the only community health center in Pennsylvania to contract with the Department of Public Welfare (PA Healthmate, Inc.) to provide managed care to Medical Assistance recipients. **


Hamilton’s Walnut Street facility opens to provide WIC, dental & adult medicine to the residents of Dauphin County.


With the assistance of former PA Governor George Leader, school based clinics at Foose and Camp Curtin Elementary Schools in Harrisburg were added to Hamilton’s roster of services.


Under new leadership and direction Hamilton expands services and partners with other organizations to better respond to the needs of Dauphin County residents.


Hamilton receives a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services and the PA department of Health to provide HIV/AIDS counseling, testing, and treatment services to hard to reach populations.


Hamilton enters into agreement with Harrisburg Housing Authority to provide medical services to Senior Citizens at the Lick building.


Hamilton’s Board of Directors, Senior Management Team, and community members form a strategic planning committee and develop Hamilton’s 2006 – 2009 Strategic Plan that identifies the need to acquire a larger facility to meet the growing demand for service.


Hamilton enters into an agreement with C.L Cressler, to open a Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy at Hamilton’s Fulton Street location and begins offering low-cost medications to Hamilton patients.


With funding from Highmark Foundation the Harrisburg School District enters into an agreement with Hamilton to provide medical and dental services to school district students at the newly remodeled Downey and Camp Curtin Elementary Schools.


Hamilton develops plans for a new facility and implementation of an electronic medical record system.


Hamilton expands its hours of operation to 56 hours per week from 40 hours making services more accessible to working patients


Hamilton transitions to electronic medical records and purchases real estate to expand services and begin renovations for the new facility.


Hamilton moves into the new facility located at 110 South 17th Street.


Hamilton initiates a $7 million Capital Campaign for Phase 2 of the building project.


With the help of various local organizations and donors, Hamilton meets the Capital Campaign goal and starts renovations on Phase 2 of the building project.


Our facility voluntarily underwent a thorough evaluation by The Joint Commission. The goal of the evaluation? To see if our facility meets The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards in delivering quality, safe care.

An image of The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval
The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of excellence and high-quality.

By meeting these standards, our facility received The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval® – an internationally recognized symbol of quality.


Hamilton acquires a private physician practice in the Union Deposit area, expanding its geographic footprint to the suburbs of Harrisburg, becoming Union Deposit Family Practice. Furthermore, UPMC Pinnacle provides x-ray, mammography, and ultrasound services at the location.


Hamilton celebrates its Grand Opening of Hamilton Family Eyecare at the main location on 17th Street.  In addition, 2018 also marked the grand opening of Hamilton Health Center of Perry County, the organization’s first rural site in Newport, Pennsylvania.


Our growth continues with the announced new satellite location in the Steelton-Highspire area.


To support the continuing mission of Hamilton to provide critical healthcare, donate today.

**Special Note: Healthmate was sold in 1999, which adversely affected Hamilton’s financial condition for several years. In 2000 Hamilton hired a new management team that has stabilized and improved the financial conditions going forward.