Jeannette Phillips • 2022 Honoree
A pioneer in securing access to health care for the disenfranchised for over five decades. In the early 1970s, the African American women of Peekskill, New York, chose Rev. Phillips to lead their effort to start a community health center that would provide access to affordable health care. Through her extraordinary efforts, the first Sun River Health site, then called the Peekskill Area Ambulatory Health Care Center, was opened in 1975. Forty-five years later, that health center has grown into Hudson River Healthcare, the largest network of community health centers in New York and the third-largest in the United States.
BY Jennifer Maine, health care worker and community advocate
Arthur Ashe quoted Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can. That is what Rev. Jeannette J. Phillips, and the founding mothers did. It was around Mary Woods kitchen table that the first community health center discussions were held. Accessible healthcare became their top priority.
Rev. Jeannette J. Phillips has been a pioneer in securing access to health care for the disenfranchised for over five decades. Through her extraordinary efforts, the first Sun River Health site, then called the Peekskill Area Ambulatory Health Care Center, was opened in 1975. Rev. Phillips became the organization’s first Board Chair, and in 1977 joined the health center as its first Outreach Director.
Forty-Five years later, Sun River Health is the largest network of federally qualified community health centers in NY and the 3rd largest in the United States. Her community outreach did not stop with healthcare. Rev. Phillips often states “healthcare and housing go hand in hand”. She has continued her efforts to assist individuals in the Peekskill and Mid-Hudson valley region by providing stable and affordable housing, by contributing to community development and revitalization efforts.
Today, she serves as the Executive Director of the Housing Preservation Company and Executive Vice President of Community Development, overseeing culture and legacy, community relations, and the spiritual health and wellness of Sun River Health staff, as well as serving as special advisor to the CEO Anne Nolon. It is with great pride that I introduce to you Rev. Jennette J. Phillips Trailblazer in healthcare.