NORFOLK, VA. (WAVY) — The historic section of Berkley in Norfolk has seen historic declines in health.

According to the National Urban League, Black women are 59% more likely to die as a result of bearing a child, and 31% more likely to die of breast cancer. And Black men are 52% more likely to die of prostate cancer.

Cardiologist Dr. Keith Newby serves as Sentara’s co-director of health equity and has been instrumental in identifying neighborhoods in need.

[In regards to medically underserved communities,] with a lack of access and a lack of adequate care, many people don’t have transportation, many people are working and it’s hard for them to get to a physician’s office.,” said Dr. Newby.

Beginning Wednesday, the health care desert in Berkley is closed, hopefully for good, with the opening of the new Sentara Community Care Center on Main Street and Berkley Avenue. One goal is to get ahead of chronic diseases that are rampant in the Black community.

(WAVY photo/Regina Mobley)

“[The Black community] has challenges with diabetes control; it has challenges with blood pressure control challenges with a lot of hospitalizations, and you know, if we can’t control diabetes and the blood pressure, the outcomes are bad,” said Dr. Mike Charles who is the center’s Executive Medical Director.

Nurse Practitioner Chanell Dorris will be on hand to help in the center which is on the first floor of the Banks at Berkley affordable housing community and she says residents can walk-in if they wish.

“The first visit is great because that’s where we can talk to the patients,” said Dorris. “We have community health workers and they go through and see what you need and help bridge that gap.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place Tuesday morning, August 30. The doors will open to the public for a meet and greet at 3 p.m., and staff when begin making appointments for primary care health visits that will begin on Wednesday.

For more information call 757-388-1830, 8 a.m. -6 p.m.

Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.