Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun (left) greets Mass­a­chu­setts Gov. Deval Patrick at the grand opening of the new Whit­tier Street Health Center facility on Monday after­noon. Photo by Mike Mazzanti.

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Mass­a­chu­setts Gov. Deval Patrick were among roughly 150 mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to cel­e­brate the grand opening of the new Whit­tier Street Health Center facility on Monday afternoon.

The new site is located at 1290 Tremont St. in Rox­bury, about a quarter mile from its pre­vious Renais­sance Park address.

Prior to a ribbon cut­ting cer­e­mony, Aoun high­lighted the university’s com­mit­ment to the health center, a co-​​op employer whose staff includes Michelle Jacobs, an assis­tant clin­ical pro­fessor in the School of Phar­macy. “We need you more than you need us,” he said. “For stu­dents to under­stand the world, they must be engaged in the world.”

The clinic cares for some 19,000 patients each year, many of whom suffer from dia­betes, hyper­ten­sion, HIV/​AIDS, cancer, obe­sity and mental ill­ness, said Fred­erica Williams, the pres­i­dent and CEO of the Whit­tier Street Health Center. “It’s impor­tant for us to have this beau­tiful med­ical home to address the social deter­mi­nants of health,” she said. “This is the begin­ning of a legacy in healing and trans­forming lives.”

The clin­ical ser­vices offered to patients at the Whit­tier Street Health Center rival those offered at larger hos­pi­tals in the city, Menino said. The health center, he added, will serve as an “oasis for folks who need the most help.”

Mary Wake­field, who was named admin­is­trator of the Health Resources and Ser­vices Admin­is­tra­tion by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in Feb­ruary 2009, said that the Whit­tier Street Health Center received $12 mil­lion in fed­eral Amer­ican Recovery and Rein­vest­ment Act funding, which she called an “invest­ment in the economy and the health of people who live and work here.”

Donna Matthews, a Whit­tier patient who suf­fered a stroke last April, praised the health center for its ded­i­ca­tion to quality care. “I feel a sense of peace here,” she said. “It is a life­line for a lot of the issues I suffer from.”

Whit­tier is an impor­tant cog in the wheel of the state’s health-​​care system, in which 90 per­cent of patients have a primary-​​care physi­cian, said Patrick, adding that he sup­ports “investing in the spirit of uni­versal health care in Massachusetts.”

Patients in Mass­a­chu­setts, he said, “don’t have to worry about going bank­rupt if they get sick.”