A native of Lenoir, N.C., Steve Hart has lived in Alexandria since 1975. He is currently the chairman of the board for Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services and a litigation attorney in Washington, D.C.
What is Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services?
We provide quality health service to anyone who comes in our door, and we’re always striving to improve our services and the health of the community around us. It’s an organization that was formed about 10 years ago under the auspices of the Alexandria Health Department to provide, at that time, services to women and young children. But over the years, it’s grown and now it’s become federally qualified health server to provide basic dental and medical services to anyone who comes to our doors.
What kind of health challenges does the organization confront?
Many of the patients we see have chronic diseases, which have often been untreated for many years. And not only do they have chronic diseases, they may have more than one thing wrong with them. So we often have to provide a great deal of medical services in order to bring our patients to a stable situation because they’ve had so little medical care in their lives. Another challenge is that we’re constantly having to find funds to support our health center because more than 90 percent of our patients have no insurance. So we have to pay for the services we provide to them with other funds. A third problem is that we’re so successful that we’re constantly getting more patients. Even in our new building, it’s beginning to feel crowded.
Does the organization have any plans for expansion?
Right now, we are working on strengthening our obstetric and prenatal program because that’s one of the areas that we have needed to put more resources into. In terms of expansion, there will probably come a time when we have to expand. But it’s early yet to be saying we have any plans.
What kind of outreach does the organization do in the community?
We often participate in health fairs, and our executive director interacts with various other organizations such as the Rotary Club and other neighborhood associations. We are quite frequently out in the community telling our story and letting people know the services we provide.
What is the story of Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services?
I think our employees are an exceptionally dedicated group of people. This kind of work appeals to them because they find it fulfilling, and they perform superbly despite the fact that they often have many more patients than they could possibly be expected to see at other places. Those who have come in to analyze the way we are performing give us very high marks.
What’s your favorite movie?
I think my favorite movie is “Saving Private Ryan.” I think it says something about the country as it once was, and I hope it says something about the way that the country would be if it needed to be again.
What’s the best book that you’ve read in the last year?
I think the best book I’ve read in the last year is “Sarum: The Novel of England” by Edward Rutherfurd. I like the continuum of certain traits of character over time. The books shows how those who persevere normally succeed in the end, and it traces the history of a place that was very important to the development of England.
What are your interests and hobbies?
I read history, and I love North Carolina basketball — especially the Tar Heels. I play racquetball and, of course, I love to be on the board of Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services.
What’s your favorite local restaurant?
Peking Gourmet Inn on Leesburg Pike. They have very delicious fresh food and attentive service.
What’s your favorite place in the community?
Along the river by the boathouse. It’s very peaceful, and the river is beautiful along that stretch of land.
What concerns do you have about the community?
I worry that as we get larger and add more and more density in Alexandria, we’ll leave the small-town feeling and interactions behind. I see the increased traffic and the congestion of the buildings creating the possibility that there will be less of a spirit of kinship as we become more urbanized.
What are your personal goals?
I’d like to see my three children happy, responsible and successful. I would also like to continue to add something to the Alexandria community through my own service. I suppose that in the end I would like to leave a legacy that my being here was worthwhile.