Building Blocks for keeping kids healthy

Photo by Karen Zautyk/ Dr. Yilda Alvarado and Dr. Roger A. Rivera Jr. of Building Blocks Pediatric Group are new to Harrison but are already committed to the community.


By Karen Zautyk


The first thing that strikes you when you walk through the door of the Building Blocks Pediatric Group office is what a warm, sunny, welcoming environment it offers. And that’s before you even meet the warm, sunny, welcoming doctors.

The waiting room is painted a bright yellow, with multicolored murals of blossoms and birdies adorning the walls – all of it creating the most child-friendly atmosphere. Building Blocks, located at 215 Harrison Ave., is a brandnew pediatric practice, open just a month, but already committed to the Harrison community.

Drs. Yilda Alvarado and Roger A. Rivera Jr., who met while doing their hospital residency, both trained at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). While studying and working in Newark, they became aware of the significant number of patients who came from the Harrison area. They saw a need for a pediatrics practice here and they are fulfilling it.

“We wanted to be in a small, close community,” Rivera noted. “And we wanted a community that was very diverse.”

If any town fits that bill, it’s Harrison.

Rivera grew up in Clifton; Alvarado, in Puerto Rico. Both are fluently bilingual (Spanish/English). And both, as Rivera notes, are “young and eager” and have “a strong sense of community.”

The doctors also wanted an office that was “very accessible” – and that means more than just its central location (south side of Harrison Avenue, between Second and Third Streets).

“We are primarily a walk-in practice,” Rivera said. No appointment necessary. “Some things can’t wait,” he continued. “If you need to be seen that day, as long as the visit fits into our hours, you will be seen.”

Those hours are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. If a patient arrives before closing time, “they will be seen.”

A pediatrics practice, we learned, serves young adults as well as children. Building Blocks’ patients range from newborns to age 21. And, along with treating someone who may be ill, the doctors offer “well visits”: preventive care, annual checkups, screenings and physicals required for school or sports.

Alvarado noted that “procedures and lab work are all done here.” Which is yet another convenience.

She also cited the need for local bilingual doctors, adding, “We want to let the community know we’re here.” To contact Building Blocks, call 862-955-3183. And for more info, visit

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