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| Historical Achievement | Gipson Eastside Health Center opens in 1966 in Five Points neighborhood - First Community Health Center west of the Mississippi, and second in the country. 501 - 28TH STREET DENVER, CO 80205

The Bernard F. Gipson Eastside Family Health Center is one of the largest clinics of Denver Health and provides comprehensive primary and preventive care for patients of all ages. Eastside Family Health Center makes up one of 55 health centers in Denver County, Colorado and is part of the Denver Health and Hospitals Authority Health Centers Network - operating year-round.

Dr. Bernard F. Gipson Sr., Surgeon

A Colorado Pioneer

Colorado has had African-American pioneers on many fronts, but none more so than Dr. Bernard F. Gipson, Sr., who was a medical doctor with a long career of service. He was the state's first black board-certified surgeon, a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery.

Gipson was born Sept. 28, 1921, in Bivins, Texas. His father, John Tom Gipson, was a farmer and Baptist church deacon who died when Bernard was 10 years old. His father's last words were that the family see to it that Bernard, who was extremely bright and would study by the light of a kerosene lamp after finishing his chores, get the highest education possible. In a biography that he wrote for the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Libraryarchives, Gipson noted: "I was 12 years old when I told my brother Claude I wanted to be a doctor.

Gipson completed pre-med studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta where he joined Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and was on the dean's honor roll his junior and senior years. He then enrolled at Howard University College of Medicine and was inducted into the Kappa Pi honorary medical society, which is open to students in the upper 10 percent of the class. His internship was at Harlem Hospital in New York with a surgical residency at Howard University Freedman's Hospital and at the U.S. Public Health Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Gipson and his wife Ernestine arrived in Colorado in 1954 when, as a U.S. Air Force captain, he took up his assignment at Lowry Air Force Base as chief of surgery. Following his discharge in 1956, he set up a private practice that was active until he retired in 1995.

He also served 25 years as a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the former University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Outside of medicine, he was a mayoral appointee to the Denver Botanic Gardens board of trustees and spent 30-plus years as a deacon at New Hope Baptist Church. He was active in his fraternity's Denver Alumni Chapter and was the longtime Public Relations Chair for the Owl Club.

He received numerous honors and awards, and the two of which he was most proud were the re-naming of Denver Health's Eastside Family Health Center to the Dr. Bernard F. Gipson Sr. Eastside Family Health Center, and the establishment of the Dr. Bernard F. Gipson Sr. Health Leadership Award that is given annually by the Center for African American Health.

Dr. Gipson died at age 93 at Briarwood Health Care Center in Denver.

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