MetroWest Free Medical Program opens in Marlborough


MetroWest Free Medical Program opens in Marlborough
Gary Hirsch cuts the ribbon to officially open the MetroWest Free Medical Program at 246 Maple St. on May 23. (photo/Maureen Sullivan)

MARLBOROUGH – When Luiz Thomaz Da Costa was a boy, his family moved from Brazil to the United States. 

Whenever they needed medical attention, they went to a free clinic.

Now a member of the board of directors for the MetroWest Free Medical Program, Da Costa joined in celebrating the official opening of the program at 246 Maple St. on May 23.

“When we moved to the United States in 2007, we were served by a similar program,” he said.

“The staff is so excited to be in a home of our own,” said Fran Green, a social worker and co-president of the board of directors. “The need for services is as great as it was 20 years ago.”

“It’s been good doing good for other people,” said Gary Hirsch, a longtime volunteer who just retired from the board of directors. “We essentially serve that population [who don’t have insurance]. We’ve been very lucky to get support from organizations such as the MetroWest Health Foundation.”

The program began in Sudbury in 2004 before moving to Framingham, where it operated out of a house next to First Parish from 2008 to 2021.

MetroWest Free Medical Program opens in Marlborough
State reps Danielle W. Gregorie, left, and Carmine L. Gentile, right, present a proclamation from the State House to Luiz Thomaz Da Costa to commemorate the official opening of the MetroWest Free Medical Program. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

Several factors played into the move to Marlborough.

“The church was selling the building, and we needed a bigger space,” said Ilene Hofrenning, a nurse practitioner who’s been with the program since 2008.

After a year of searching for a suitable property, Hofrenning said Da Costa encouraged them to look at Marlborough.

The suitable site came up, in all places, on Craigslist.

“We were looking for shared space in a medical office … it was already set up,” she said. “It worked out really great.”

It’s a great addition to the city,” said Mayor Arthur Vigeant.

The program opened in November 2022. According to Nick Jennings, the clerk for the board of directors, about 300 patients have received medical attention since January.

Jennings said most of the patients are English language learners (mainly Brazilian immigrants) and uninsured.

The program’s facility offers free, in-person adult medicine, women’s health and vision care; services include immunizations, blood pressure checks, lab work and well visits. 

The program is staffed by more than 90 volunteers – including doctors, nurses and interpreters — and seven part-time staffers.

Jennings said the program is making arrangements with Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain for specialty care.

He added that the program could use more medical interpreters and scribes for physicians, along with financial donations.

For information about the MetroWest Free Medical Program, visit


MetroWest Free Medical Program moves to Marlborough

No posts to display