From NJ.com, The News of Cumberland County, 28 May 2011.
The National Association of Health Centers recently honored Gwendolyn Gould of Bridgeton as recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Migrant Health Center Board Member Award. This award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding level of service and commitment as a board member of a migrant health center.
Gould received this honor because of her lifelong commitment to the community health care movement and the extraordinary contributions she has made to farmworker health and social justice in Cumberland County and beyond.
She was one of a handful of local activists that initiated a volunteer community health organization in Bridgeton in 1974 to serve the great population of health underserved migrant workers and residents of Cumberland County. At that time, Gould and the other health advocates enlisted volunteer physicians, created an affiliation with the hospital system and launched the Bridgeton Area Health Services Community Medical Center. In 1976, they secured their first Migrant Health Grant.
Gould is currently board chair of the CompleteCare Health Network, the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) she helped create. Today, CompleteCare serves nearly 50,000 medical, dental and behavioral health patients annually at 14 health centers and four school-based programs in Cumberland, Gloucester and Cape May counties.
Gould’s dedication to anti-poverty causes stem back to the 1960s when she began working and volunteering to make a difference. Her connection to the migrant program began when her sister-in-law, the late Pauline Boykin, encouraged her to help by reading to migrant children. Gould eventually became an administrative assistant for the migrant program of SCOPE, an anti-poverty organization that served residents in the region. From there she went on to direct the local Head Start Program for SCOPE.
In the years that have passed, she has worked in leadership roles with human and mental health services organizations. She’s been a fierce and tireless soldier in campaigns for social justice and community improvement.
She has been active in and received recognition from the NAACP, the National Congress of Christians and Jews, Cumberland County Black United Fund, 4 H, N.J. Community Action Programs, Black United Fund of New Jersey, Black Hall of Fame, the cities of Bridgeton, Vineland and Millville, New Jersey State Assembly and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census.
Gould has chaired CompleteCare’s Volunteer board of directors for the past 10 years and during her watch the health organization has tripled its service area, increased its health service centers from 4 to 18 and expanded services from 30,000 to 160,000 per year. She has also been diligent in nurturing farmworker leadership within the agency and has made farmworker outreach a priority.
“Gwen Gould is called ‘Mom’ by many of Cumberland County’s civic leaders, a reference to her mentorship of an earlier generation of young activists,” said CompleteCare President and CEO, Gil Walter. “Her national recognition as an outstanding volunteer health center director also reminds us that we consider Gwen the godmother of the CompleteCare mission of accessible health care for farm workers and other health underserved in our communities.”
Gould resides in Millville with her family and at 79 years of age, she continues to work tirelessly to ensure that everyone in Cumberland County receives the high quality health care that they deserve.