NEWS: NOAH Offering COVID Vaccine Booster

Recently the CDC approved a booster shot for the Pfizer COVID vaccine. NOAH will begin offering booster shots for specific groups starting Monday, Oct. 4. To schedule your Pfizer booster, contact NOAH at 480-882-4545 or request an appointment online.

All boosters should be given at least six months after the initial doses.

The CDC recommends booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people:

  • Age 65+ and residents in long-term care settings
  • Age 50-64 with underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18-49 with underlying medical conditions, depending on their individual benefits and risks
  • Age 18-64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and spread because of school, work (including healthcare), or housing situations (including shelters), based on their individual benefits and risks.  

Many of the people who are now eligible to receive a booster shot received their initial vaccine early in the vaccination program, between December 2020 and May 2021, and will benefit from this additional protection. Read more about the CDC’s guidelines on boosters here.

The initial two-dose Pfizer mRNA vaccines provides excellent protection against COVID, but the data shows that the effectiveness of the vaccines at preventing mild to moderate infection decreases by around 20% over time. Regardless of whether people get the booster or not, the initial two-doses of Pfizer are still more than 80% effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalization or death.

Did you get the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

At this time the CDC has not recommended booster shots for either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The CDC will continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of all COVID-19 vaccines and evaluate data to make any new recommendations for other vaccines or groups of people to receive boosters.

If you have any questions about the COVID vaccine, are unsure whether or not you qualify for the booster dose, or want help deciding which vaccine is right for you, make an appointment to talk to your NOAH provider.

Profile in Leadership

Meet Yvonne Moss of NOAH’s Board of Directors

Yvonne is the new President of NOAH’s Board of Directors. She shares her passion for NOAH and commitment to community service.

Q: Tell us about yourself and when you joined the Board of Directors.

Yvonne Moss
Yvonne Moss, NOAH Board President

A: I’m the Assistant General Counsel at Make-A-Wish of America which is headquartered here in Phoenix. I joined the NOAH Board of Directors in December of 2016, so it has been almost five years of serving the organization.

Q: Why are you interested in supporting community health?

A: Supporting community health just makes sense to me. I believe access to quality healthcare should be a universal human right, everyone deserves the dignity of compassionate care. Good healthcare also impacts the overall community. When people are healthy, it positively impacts their family, their jobs, their schoolwork, and more.

Q: What made you decide to serve on NOAH’s Board of Directors?

A: I was working at a Phoenix law firm before joining Make-A-Wish and NOAH worked with the firm. I got to know NOAH and the leadership team and it really motivated me to do more for community health. I trust the NOAH leadership and love being able to support the organization and the patients with my time.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your term as President?

A: We have a terrific group of talented, passionate, interesting, and fun people serving on the Board of Directors. Together, the board is working to increase access to whole person care at NOAH. When I joined the board, we used to lovingly say “NOAH is the best kept secret” but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. We aren’t a secret anymore, and the more people get to know NOAH, the more we can impact lives, families, and communities.

Q: What about NOAH motivates you the most in your role as President of the Board of Directors?

A: It is hard to pick just one thing, but if I had to narrow down my passion for NOAH it is truly about the whole person care approach. Including physical health, mental and emotional wellbeing, and access to resources like health insurance into how we work with patients changes lives. Add that to the compassion the whole team brings to their job, and it’s just not like everywhere else. NOAH is different and it shows in how we treat each patient.

The NOAH Board of Directors is a diverse group of volunteers who contribute to the mission of transforming the health of our community. Patients from the communities we serve make up 51% of our board. Learn more about NOAH’s board of directors and how they drive the organization.

Check Out the New Desert Mission Health Center

The new Desert Mission Health Center is just a few short months away from being completed. With it’s 23,000 square feet of state-of-the-art healthcare support, Desert Mission Health Center will impact the lives of thousands every year.

Watch the Time-Lapsed Video of Desert Mission Health Center Construction

See the progress of the new facility with this video starting in late March 2021 and through today! Watch the video here.

The project began in early April 2021 with a Groundbreaking celebration recognizing the many people and organizations who had worked together to make the new facility possible. In June, the final steel beam was raised to complete the building framing, and NOAH celebrated with a Topping Out event.

When completed in the winter of 2021/2022, patients will have access to services, including:

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Psychiatric
  • Nutrition
  • Pediatric
  • Counseling
  • Prenatal
  • Community Resources

Every member of the community is welcome at NOAH’s Desert Mission Health Center, accepting all health insurance including Medicare, AHCCCS (Medicaid), private insurance, and patients who are uninsured. Whether you are a growing family needing prenatal and pediatric services, an aging individual looking for preventative healthcare, or anything in-between, NOAH has the caring providers to help you live your healthiest life.

When it opens this winter, the newest NOAH health center will have 28 medical exam rooms, 26 counseling/psychiatric offices, 6 dental rooms, and 1 group therapy room. The health center will also offer access to telehealth, both for NOAH patients to get care virtually, but also as a space for our patients to receive telehealth from other providers with safety, privacy, and technological access.

To learn more about the new Desert Mission Health Center, visit DesertMission.noahhelps.org. New and existing patients can also make an appointment at any of NOAH’s health centers or for a telehealth appointment at NOAHhelps.org.

Profile in Leadership

Meet Scott Richter of NOAH’s Board of Directors

Meet Scott, the newest member of NOAH’s Board of Directors. He shares a glimpse into what this role means and why he is passionate about NOAH.

Board of Directors
Scott Richter, NOAH Board Member

Q: Tell us about yourself and when you joined the NOAH Board of Directors.

A: My name is Scott Richter. I am the Chief Credit Officer for RAZA Development Fund, a Phoenix-based organization that invests and creates financial solutions to increase opportunities for Latino and poor communities across the country. I am brand new to NOAH’s board having joined in September 2021.

Q: Why are you interested in supporting community health?

A: Service to others is the primary reason. From an early age, my parents instilled in me a strong ethic to help others. Growing up, my dad was a hospital administrator for a small hospital in rural Arkansas and I saw the importance and impact of providing high quality healthcare even at that age.

In addition, as a diabetic I am personally aware of how important it is to take care of one’s health. I also recognize that not everyone has access to the same quality of care. Diabetes is something that can be prevented or controlled when quality care is available. Anything I can do to help others avoid my fate is something I want to be a part of.

Q: Why did you want to serve on NOAH’s Board of Directors?

A: NOAH’s approach of being an active part of the community is what motivated me. We are focused on the patient across the full spectrum of healthcare needs, and that is how my dad approached his role as hospital administrator in rural Arkansas with his focus always on the patient. In that role, he undertook a major renovation providing state-of-the-art care not previously available to the community, not because it was flashy and new, but because it made a real difference in the lives of the people served by the hospital. That sort of strategic foresight is something I hope to bring as NOAH looks to the future of care.

Q: What do you hope the Board of Directors will accomplish during your term?

A: My goal is simple – to make a positive difference in the lives of NOAH patients.  Anything I can do as part of the board that will improve and expand access to quality care to all is worthy of my best efforts.

Q: NOAH serves many different people in the community. What patient population are you most passionate about helping?

A: To me, everyone matters. Our CEO at RAZA Development Fund often says, “poverty doesn’t discriminate.”  Poverty does, however, impact people’s access to quality healthcare. Without good health, any person’s ability to have meaningful work that provides economic stability and opportunity for that person and their family is at risk.  Building a solid foundation that supports people and helps them out of poverty is what matters the most to me.

The NOAH Board of Directors is a diverse group of volunteers who contribute to the mission of transforming the health of our community. Patients from the communities we serve make up 51% of our board. Learn more about NOAH’s board of directors and how they drive the organization.

What to Know for Healthy Aging Month

Our bodies change in many ways as we age. The more we know what to expect and how to manage any challenges, the better. NOAH offers comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages, but since September is Healthy Aging Month, we are sharing useful tips and reminders for you and your loved ones.

Don’t Miss Annual Physicals

Annual physicals are an opportunity for you to discuss your health and wellness with your primary care provider. Medical providers will order age-appropriate tests and labs to get a full picture of your health. At NOAH we strongly encourage our Medicare patients to schedule their annual Medicare Wellness Visit to discuss health goals and recommendations.

Get Regular Check-Ups

If you aren’t feeling well, make an appointment to see your provider. Patients, especially aging patients, shouldn’t try to wait it out if there is something wrong. Having regular check-ups will keep you feeling well and catch any potentially serious conditions early.

Mental Health Matters

No matter your age, your mental health is important. In aging adults, depression can have a negative impact on health conditions like heart disease and stroke. Patient’s often underestimate depression and mental health concerns, but it is important to everyone’s overall health to make sure mental wellbeing is, managed appropriately.

Get Moving

More physical activity means a healthier you! Getting active can help delay, prevent, or manage many chronic diseases like diabetes and high cholesterol. Being more active can also help keep your bone density and strength. Any exercise is better than none, so just get moving!

Eat For Your Health

Being overweight or obese will seriously harm your overall health, particularly as you age. Eating a nutritious diet will help manage chronic conditions, keep you healthy, and even improve your mood. Consider adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals, and always talk to your provider about any diet changes.

If you have trouble accessing or affording healthy, nutritious food, talk to NOAH. We can help!

Stay Social for Healthy Aging

A recent study found that older adults with more social activity had more positive moods, fewer negative feelings, and higher levels of physical activity. If you don’t have a social network, look for one through volunteer activities, at senior centers, at church, or other local community groups.

NOAH is here for you and your loved ones at any age. To learn more about healthy aging, comprehensive care, enrolling in Medicare or another insurance plan, access to healthy food and other resources, reach out to NOAH today at 480-882-4545 or make an appointment online.

NEWS: Pfizer COVID Vaccine Receives Full FDA Approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave full approval for the Pfizer COVID vaccine Monday, Aug. 23 for patients 16 and older. This is the first COVID vaccine to be granted full approval from the FDA.

“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement.

In December of 2020, the Pfizer vaccine was granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA and has been administered to millions of people nationwide with high success rates. In May 2021, Pfizer submitted to the FDA’s Biologics License Application for the 16 and older population and was granted approval today.

To receive approval, the FDA reviewed data that has been updated since initial clinical trials (data that allowed for the EUA in December) which included tracking outcomes in even more patients over a longer period of time after receiving the vaccine doses.

The Pfizer vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty, is still approved for use under the FDA’s EUA for patients ages 12 – 15 and for a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

Moderna, which also received EUA in December 2020, began the process for full FDA approval earlier this summer and approval is expected later this year, but because every vaccine is different timing may vary. Johnson & Johnson has not yet begun the process for full FDA approval but has issued statements that they plan to submit for approval later in 2021.

NOAH offers all three COVID vaccines at health center around the Valley. To request a vaccine for people 12 and older, call 480-882-4545 or request a vaccine appointment online.

It’s National Health Center Week

During National Health Center Week, NOAH is celebrating the progress made in the 57 years since community health centers were established as part of the civil rights movement. Community health centers, like the nine locations NOAH operates around central Arizona serve all members of the community.

Today, there are 1,400 community health center organizations like NOAH providing much-needed healthcare and wellness services around the country. Those 1,400 organizations have more than 14,000 sites to serve the 30 million individuals who need and deserve access to quality care.

The National Association of Community Health Centers recognizes the progress and impact made for all people throughout the year, but this week is dedicated to sharing this momentum with everyone.

NOAH Community Health Centers

NOAH began its journey of providing compassionate, quality healthcare for all in 1997. In the past 24 years, NOAH has expanded to nine health center locations, serving 40,000 people every year, adding vital new service lines like psychiatry, integrating screenings for food insecurity and other social determinants of health, and so much more. Today NOAH employs more than 350 talented, dedicated providers, support staff, and administrative professionals to continue to bring our vision to life.

Throughout National Health Center Week, NOAH is recognizing our amazing team members who always give so much to our mission and each patient, but even more so over the past 18 months. NOAH has given more than 20,000 COVID vaccines, continues to meet every goal in front of them, and works together as a team in the face of every new opportunity.

So, this week we take time to celebrate our NOAH team members and the other 225,000 community health center employees around the country. Community health centers help families grow, support generations, address wellness for the whole person, and change lives every day. To learn more about Community Health Centers and their impact, visit HealthCenterWeek.org. To see what NOAH is up to this week, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

NEWS: NOAH Celebrates Milestone in New Desert Mission Construction

In April 2021, NOAH broke ground on the new Desert Mission Health Center and on June 26, hit another major milestone in the project. Kitchell, the construction company building the more than 23,000 square foot health center, lifted the final steel beam to complete the structure. This “Topping Off” celebration signifies a major phase in the completion of the health center.

Desert Mission Health Center team celebrates the Topping Off of their new health center.

Members of the NOAH Desert Mission Health Center team, along with other NOAH staff and board members came to celebrate the progress of the new Desert Mission Health Center facility by signing the final beam and sharing heartfelt memories and excitement for the future of NOAH in the Sunnyslope community.

The new health center, located around the corner from the current Desert Mission Health Center, will be at 9015 N. 3rd St. in Phoenix. NOAH is committed to providing healthcare for all, and that principle will guide how NOAH will serve around 20,000 patients every year with comprehensive, equitable healthcare at this new location.

Desert Mission was founded in 1927 and has provided much-needed medical care and ongoing support to the Sunnyslope community ever since. Now two separate entities, the Health Center and the Food Bank, together the legacy lives on.

Construction is expected to be completed on the new Desert Mission Health Center before the end of 2021. For more up-to-date information about the progress of this project, visit DesertMission.NOAHhelps.org.  

NEWS: NOAH to offer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12+

PHOENIX (May 12, 2021) – Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health (NOAH), a leading community health center in Maricopa county delivering comprehensive health services to the underserved, announced today that it will offer the COVID-19 vaccine to those ages 12 and above beginning on May 21.

NOAH began rolling out COVID-19 vaccines in February, already vaccinating more than 16,000 patients, including many underserved community members. Anyone can schedule their vaccine with NOAH if they are 12 and older, regardless of whether they are a patient.

“We prioritize healthcare for every member of our community, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, that has meant adjusting, adding, and enhancing what we are doing and remaining flexible to the realities of this virus,” said Wendy Armendariz, NOAH CEO. “We are excited to provide the Pfizer vaccine to individuals 12 and older, in addition to Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The NOAH team is thrilled to be able to add this important layer of protection to families in our community.”

NOAH currently offers both the Moderna two-dose vaccine as well as the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine at various NOAH health centers. The nonprofit health center will begin offering the Pfizer two-dose vaccine in addition to the others, with the second dose given 21 days after the first. There is no cost for any COVID-19 vaccine.

At this time, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for individuals under age 18. Five of NOAH’s nine locations currently offer COVID-19 vaccines, with two of those beginning to provide the Pfizer vaccine to 12 and older:

  • Desert Mission Health Center at 9201 N 5th St, Phoenix
  • Palomino Health Center at 16251 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix

Anyone can schedule their vaccine with NOAH, regardless of whether they are a NOAH patient or not and regardless of immigration status. No insurance is required for the vaccine. NOAH has bilingual staff and can help individuals schedule at https://noahhelps.org/covid-vaccine/ or by calling 480-882-4545.

NEWS: NOAH Breaks Ground on New Desert Mission Health Center

PHOENIX (April 19, 2021) – The Desert Mission Health Center in the Phoenix Sunnyslope neighborhood began serving the health needs of the community 94 years ago. This week, the community will celebrate the groundbreaking of a new, comprehensive, state-of-the-art healthcare facility to serve a growing number of individuals and families in the area.

Desert Mission Health Center became part of Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health (NOAH) in 2015. NOAH is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), a designation demonstrating that NOAH strives to, and meets, the needs of an underserved area. Today, Desert Mission Health Center is located in a 6,600-square-foot renovated former church in the Sunnyslope community. The new facility, designed by local architect firm Orcutt Winslow and built by Kitchell, will be more than 23,000 square feet when it opens in late 2021, increasing patient capacity from 4,000 annually to 20,000.

“Sunnyslope is one of the most socio-economically diverse neighborhoods in Phoenix and we are proud of our deep roots in this community,” said NOAH CEO Wendy Armendariz. “Desert Mission Health Center serves generations of families with comprehensive, compassionate, equitable care every day. With our new facility, we will not only expand space to serve more patients, but we will increase the number of experienced providers as well as enhance the ways we serve and reach our patients.”

Keeping the health center in the same part of the Sunnyslope neighborhood was important. The new locations is within walking distance of the existing NOAH Desert Mission Health Center are other medical facilities and human services that patients value. The land for the new location is on the HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center campus, and under lease to NOAH from HonorHealth.

“NOAH Desert Mission Health Center has been an important part of both the Sunnyslope community and HonorHealth for nearly 100 years,” said HonorHealth CEO Todd LaPorte. “HonorHealth is proud of our shared history with NOAH. We are honored to help bring this new facility to our community and the patients who rely on its many healthcare services.”

To fund a project of this scale, NOAH worked with several, mostly local, partners to maximize the benefit to the community and with the funds and loans available for nonprofits and FQHCs. One of the first partners to work with NOAH on the new Desert Mission Health Center was Phoenix Community Development & Investment Corporation (PCDIC), which received New Markets Tax Credits – federal funds for investment in distressed, qualifying communities.

“Our investments in underserved communities are focused on improving the lives of those who live and work there,” said PCDIC Board Chair Ginger Spencer. “We’re proud to help make the new Desert Mission Health Center a reality and are confident it will be a gem for the Sunnyslope community and increase access to healthcare for Sunnyslope residents.” 

With the New Market Tax Credit secured, NOAH and PCDIC were able to work with Chase and Phoenix-based Raza Development Fund as partners in this project as well.

“We are proud to support NOAH through New Markets Tax Credit financing that will enable them to construct a new health care facility, creating new jobs and expanding their capacity to care for patients,” said Nicole Boone, Executive Director, Community Development Banking at Chase. “We are excited to play a role in a project that will have a tremendous impact on the local community.”

Raza Development Fund is focused on not only supporting integral community programs and efforts, like NOAH, but particularly with a focus on organizations serving Latino and low-income communities. Sunnyslope is a diverse community with around 64 percent of residents being Hispanic and Latino.

“Now more than ever, in this new environment, it has become so apparent that health and healthcare are priorities for all of us,” said Tom Espinoza, President and CEO of Raza Development Fund. “Supporting NOAH to expand their access to more patients will bring healthcare where it is most needed.”

Desert Mission Health Center began serving community members in need in 1927 as a tuberculosis clinic. Today, thousands of people come for comprehensive healthcare and so much more. Together, NOAH, HonorHealth, PCDIC, Community Development Banking at Chase, and Raza have ensured Desert Mission can continue to serve the neighborhood for many years to come.

“The collective efforts of many individuals, organizations, and programs will ensure the legacy of Desert Mission Health Center remains a staple of the community for future generations,” said Armendariz. 

To learn more about the project, watch the groundbreaking video, see the future Desert Mission Health Center, and more, visit DesertMission.NOAHhelps.org.