LOS ANGELES, Calif.–The intersection of 27th Street and Central Avenue was dedicated today as Dr. Bassett H. Brown Square in honor of the pioneering provider of health care services for the underserved in South Los Angeles.
Brown is the CEO of the Central Neighborhood Health Foundation, which is located at the intersection. He has been associated with the clinic since 1967, when he responded to a plea for a physician’s assistant.
When he came to work at the clinic, it was under extreme financial distress. In an attempt to keep it from closing, he acquired its few assets in a non-cash transfer. Brown was able to stabilize the clinic, thanks to legislation authored by then-Sen. Mervyn M. Dymally, then introduced new
services, including lab services and X-rays.
In 1970, Brown financed 50 percent of the costs to construct a more modern 9,000-square-foot building.
Brown continued to expand services for the area’s largely Black and Latino residents over the years. The practice grew to include 10 full-time primary care doctors. At is peak in the 1970s, it was providing services to more than 300 patients a day and employed more than 100 health care personnel.
It now sees more than 12,000 patients a year.
The naming of the square for Brown was championed by Dymally, who became the clinic’s president in 2008 after leaving the Assembly because of term limits. Dymally, who was lieutenant governor from 1975-79 and a congressman from 1981-93, died Oct. 7 at age 86.