On November 10, 1921, New York City's East Harlem Health Center Demonstration Project opened to great fanfare. The project self-consciously characterized itself as a "department store of health and welfare," playing on the success of the urban institution that promised everything that one could imagine buying, in one central location. Similarly, the East Harlem Health Center gathered over twenty three of the neighborhood's health and social welfare agencies into one newly refurbished building for the same kind of "one stop shopping" for coordinated health and welfare services. The concept of "coordination" was key to the success of the demonstration. Public and private agencies would keep control of their budgets and personnel, but the demonstration would test the premise that physical proximity would eliminate costly service duplication, ease access to resources needed by the predominantly Italian community, and, in the end, deliver better health outcomes.
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