Dr. Charles Warren Williams envisioned a place where the medically underserved and economically disadvantaged population in Mecklenburg County could receive quality and affordable healthcare. His passion to serve led to the founding of the C.W Williams Community Health Center, Inc. (CWWCHC).
For more than 25 years, CWWCHC has been an anchor in the Charlotte community and continues to provide primary and preventive care and health education. While collaborating with local businesses and religious institutions to improve the economic development of the Charlotte area, the CWWCHC also serves as a community resource for local high schools, colleges, universities, and other healthcare organizations. In 1981, Dr. Williams, along with Peggy Beckwith, founder of the local Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, Dr. John Murphy, a local dentist, and Rowe "Jack" Motley, the first African-American County Commissioner, petitioned the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create the C.W. Williams Community Health Center.
With only three days to submit the paperwork, Rowe Motley relied on his relationships to complete the proposal, and drove the necessary papers to Washington. "The only African American funded program at the time was for Sickle Cell Anemia. The four of us decided that this was the foundation that we would launch the process with," says Peggy Beckwith. Due to their hard work and dedication, the three were awarded a grant to help meet the community's need for accessible and affordable medical care. More 25 years later, the center now offers diabetes management, HIV/AIDS primary care, homeless healthcare and mammography screening.
Dr. Murphy still sits on the board of directors, inspiring others to continue the mission that he, Peggy and Rowe envisioned. In the new millennium, C.W. Williams still relies on partnerships and dedication to provide quality healthcare for the underserved, uninsured and underinsured. "We are still dealing with some of the same challenges," explains Dr. Beverly Irby, current CEO of C.W. Williams Health Center.
The center operates in two locations, one at the original west side site and the other in midtown Charlotte. It has 10 board certified medical providers on staff and a total of 65 employees.
Just as Dr. Williams' vision for compassionate care came into existence in 1981, the board of directors, staff and community partners at the center look forward to new and innovative opportunities to further their mission to keep the community healthy. As Vivian Williams, the wife of Dr. Williams, says, "We are still building on the legacy and the vision of C.W. His passion continues in what we do."