Read the Story of CHC

A new book chronicling the history of Community Health Center, Inc. and the Weitzman Institute is now available in hardcover, paperback, audiobook and e-book! Learn more at

Powerfully told by acclaimed writer Charles Barber, Peace & Health: How a group of small-town activists and college students set out to change healthcare depicts the remarkable journey to build the Community Health Center, Inc. in Middletown, Connecticut, an organization that opened in 1972 with one dentist chair and grew to serve hundreds of thousands of previously underserved patients, touching the lives of millions more with an inclusive model of primary care.

Without money or training, CHC Founder Mark Masselli faced down opposition from the local hospital and City Hall, and raised the banner that “healthcare is a right, not a privilege.” Along the way, he found partners in the daughter of a sharecropper, who made her way north during the great migration and becomes the North Star of the drive to transform health in the community; the son of a Jewish émigré and pharmacist who breaks from his peers to support the cause; the musician who played in the big bands of the South in the 1930’s, who loses his teeth and is now determined to make sure others do not lose theirs; and the college student and future US Senator who helps buy the building so the free clinic would not be shut down permanently.

Peace & Health also offers an incisive exploration of healthcare in America, from local politics to federal funding battles; an investigation of the impact of community organizing with takeaways for today’s activists; and the importance of patient involvement in the creation of places that are said to serve them but so frequently ignore their needs.