By Chuck Stewart, Jr.

Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley celebrated the opening of their new health center at 136 Lake Street in the Lakeside Plaza in Newburgh last Thursday.

According to Ruth-Ellen Blodgett, President and CEO, the new facility has over 8,000 square feet, which includes a large waiting room, several exam rooms and plenty of free parking. They are open late and on Saturday’s to provide services to people who work during the week.

Ruth-Ellen Blodgett, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley gave guided tours at the open house celebration of Planned Parenthood’s new health center at 136 Lake Street in Newburgh on Thursday, March 31, 2011. Photo: Chuck Stewart, Jr.

The opening of the new health center completes the consolidation of the agencies New Windsor and Newburgh (Dubois Street) health centers.

“Our patients’ needs always come first and by consolidating our Newburgh and New Windsorhealth centers into one larger, more modern, secure facility we are able to provide the kind of care they have come to rely on,” Blodgett said.

In their first two months of operation at the new locale, they have already seen a significant increase in patients, including men. That could be the result of their new “male friendly room” which has material specific to male issues.

“Many of the men that come to see us have a concern about potentially having a sexually transmitted disease or want to be tested for HIV,” Blodgett said. While there, the men are taught to do self exams for testicular cancer and offered information about pregnancy prevention and birth control for their partners as well.

In addition to providing health care services, Planned Parenthood also does extensive education in many of the schools. According to Blodgett, they offer “medically accurate health education which has proven to have positive outcomes for kids to delay sexual activity. And if they are going to have sexual activity, they know how to prevent pregnancy and contracting a sexually transmitted disease.”

The fully bilingual staff of the new Planned Parenthood health center offers patients a full range of family planning services and contraceptive choices including: breast and cervical cancer screenings; the full range of FDA approved contraceptive methods; gynecological exams, Pap smears, and pelvic exams; sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment; HIV testing and counseling; emergency contraception; testicular cancer screenings; pregnancy testing and counseling on prenatal care and delivery, adoption, and abortion.

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