Peninsula Health Center: A public health hub for the community

Beside the Point

Peninsula Health Center staff, left to right, front: Linda Vincent, Audra Kennedy; back: Brenda Hill, Toni Chapman, Suzanne Burns, Tes La Dieu. (Photo by Anna Dorl)

The brand-new doors of the relocated and renovated Peninsula Health Center (PHC) in Newport News have opened to welcome the surrounding population to its new community health center. Under the Virginia Department of Health, the moving process for Peninsula Health Center started in 2021 after a vote on its relocation resolution. On September 7, 2023, the move to the former home of Stratford University was officially announced. The original location on J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, next to Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, had served the Peninsula for more than 40 years.

“It wasn’t really as accessible to some of the community,” says Tes La Dieu, who has worked with the center since 2019. She serves as public information officer for the Hampton and Peninsula health districts and is population health manager.

“The Peninsula Health Center serves Newport News, York County, James City County, Williamsburg and Poquoson,” La Dieu says. “We serve five localities, but we’ve always been pretty heavily centered out of Newport News. We are now really on the border between York and Newport News, right off Interstate 64.” With a satellite office in James City County, and this new closeness to more community members, the new Peninsula Health Center hopes to reach many more individuals across the area.

The new building, also on J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, allows for expanded services and increased security measures to ensure safety at all points. The redesign offers new possibilities with its sleek interior layout. Amenities include clinical services, population and community health, the federal program of Women, Infants and Children (WIC), AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Program (PrEP), substance abuse and social needs services, REVIVE training, family planning and so much more. These extensions of the health department can reach its people in all-new ways with these available new resources and increased accessibility.

“We work with all the health systems to assess what the community has identified as top health needs, and we work with community partners to create sustainable plans that the community actually wants,” La Dieu says, referring to one aspect of her work: community health assessments. “We believe incorporating the community from the get-go on different services, as opposed to throwing a program at the wall and seeing if it sticks. It’s really incorporating the community at all levels, being really data driven and community focused.”

La Dieu continues, “Now, all of our services are together and housed in one location. The health department and Peninsula Health Center now take into consideration our growth and accessibility for clients and staff and focus more on becoming a hub for health services.”

PHC can be viewed as “a public health hub for the community,” according to La Dieu. “We can be a main location where people can access information and education, we can host events, we can be a place where people feel safe [and welcome] to access services.”

Outside of her work, La Dieu is a member of the Newport News Master Gardeners’ Association and spends time with her husband and two cats.

TO THE POINT:
Peninsula Health Center
Address: 836 J Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601
Email: peninsula@vdh.virginia.gov (general)
Website: vdh.virginia.gov/hampton-peninsula

About Anna Dorl 33 Articles
Anna Dorl grew up all over the United States as a military brat, and she now calls Virginia home. She is a graduate of Christopher Newport University with a degree in communication studies, with minors in writing and film studies. Since graduation, she’s worked in journalism and education. When she’s not writing, Anna can be found hanging out with her dog, Stella, and watching spooky movies.