Medicine: Siege at Columbia Point

Built on a former garbage dump that thrusts into Boston Harbor, the Columbia Point Housing Project has never been an appealing place. The stark, institutional-style buildings and their occupants—now mostly impoverished blacks and Puerto Ricans, with a minority of white pensioners—are isolated both geographically and culturally from Boston proper. There are no private doctors in the project, and Boston City Hospital is a long bus ride away.

The project's one bright spot since 1965 has been the Columbia Point Health Center. Organized by Tufts University Medical School with federal funds, the center has provided a variety of high-quality medical and social services....

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