Month: August 2013

Why so serious? AMPHS volunteers take a playful break upstate

Last Saturday, August 14th, AMPHS volunteers and summer interns enjoyed a field trip that featured a unique integration of nature, culture, and adventure. AMPHS volunteers drove upstate to the Storm King Art Center only one hour north of New York City, in the lower Hudson Valley. Our volunteers spent a beautiful time together having a picnic and exploring the magic inside one of the world’s leading sculpture parks.

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The fun didn’t stop there; after this magical excursion, we headed up to Cold Spring, a small historical village in southeastern New York, where we explored local food shops and antique stores (some which carried pieces dating back to the Civil War!).



We settled at a local ice cream shop and while there, shared experiences, stories and personal goals while enjoying the local delicacy. ‘It was a great trip; I really appreciate AMPHS organizing it. It really shows how much this organization care about its volunteers and interns,” said Adriana Cardenas, a volunteer since January 2012. “One of the best parts was that everyone had to a chance to share not only food but their experiences working at AMPHS. I felt like I got the opportunity to know everyone on a much more personal level.”’


We hope our volunteers enjoyed the trip and are ready to come back to AMPHS to bring the organization to new levels!

2013 Summer Internship Program Ends with a Splash!


(Left to Right) AMPHS Summer Interns Karen Ouyang, Alexandra Lacqua, Lisa Rennels, Georgina Muri

The AMPHS 2013 summer internship program ended with a splash last week, after our four summer interns presented their final project results in culminating presentations to AMPHS senior staff. This year, summer interns Alexandra Lacqua, Georgina Muri, Karen Ouyang, and Lisa Rennels were responsible for a diversity of projects to help inform AMPHS’ strategic direction and project goals. Summer interns were divided into projects related to Community Engagement and Medical & Public Health Services and assigned group and independent projects. Group projects included: inputting survey data into the public health database and performing data analysis, community mapping, and conducting needs assessments with community members through interviews and observations. Independent projects were focused on special topics, such as social media use in Sunset Park, air pollution in Sunset Park, market research for a community-wide Healthy Eating Discounts Program, and research on health care policy and its effects on undocumented populations.

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Summer Interns with President & CEO Hewett Chiu at AFA Conference 2013

The summer internship program also featured a number of different activities, including workshops, conferences, and outings. In June, interns had the chance to participate in the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Concepts of Care Conference, where they learned about caretaking for dementia patients and gained a better understanding of patient perspectives. Complementing this, AMPHS initiated a series of Miniversity workshops to introduce interns to topics related to health, health care, and nonprofits, including workshops ranging from topics like brain disorders to qualitative research methods, grantwriting, health care policy, cardiac malfunction and blood pressure measurement, and presentation design. To top it off, interns had the opportunity to participate in a plethora of AMPHS community health events, interacting directly with community members, assisting with outreach, materials distribution, surveys, and translation, and gaining a better understanding of the population the organization was serving.


Summer Outing at Storm King Art Center

And of course, summer isn’t summer without some heated fun. To conclude their summer, AMPHS interns and volunteers took a break from the busy city life with a group outing to relax at the serene and inspirational Storm King Art Center; that same week, they took another surprise trip to participate in the Dr. Oz Show at ABC Studios. On their last day, each of the interns gave a culminating presentation to present their project findings and recommendations to the senior staff, which will be used to further inform AMPHS’ strategic planning process.

When the interns were asked to recap their experiences at AMPHS, a very clear theme emerged. Not only had they learned important skills, they also had the opportunity to contribute to something that mattered to them. According to summer intern Karen Ouyang, “It made me feel small things do make a difference. All the while, I learned research skills, communication skills, time management, and self-motivation during this very busy summer.”

Lisa Rennels Final Presentation on Community Needs Assessment and Social Media Trends in Sunset Park

Lisa Rennels Final Presentation on Community Needs Assessment and Social Media Trends in Sunset Park

This could not make us happier to see. Beyond learning about public health and nonprofits as a career option, they came to AMPHS because they wanted to connect to something larger. We are glad that the interns have been able to explore what matters and break out of their academic bubbles to connect to the greater New York City community.

Wherever they go, we hope that they will bring the AMPHS spirit with them and uncover their true passions. Thank you, Alex, Georgina, Karen, and Lisa for all your hard work this summer!

A Big Thank You to Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez for $3500 in Funding

Sara Gonzalez

Councilwoman Sara M. Gonzalez
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AMPHS would like to thank Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez for granting us $3500 in discretionary funding to help support the Community Health Project. Each year, members of the NYC Council identify community-based not-for-profit organizations and public service agencies for discretionary contract awards. These awards extend for a single fiscal year and reimburse the organization for program expenses once program services have been completed.

As a former clinician and social services director, Councilwoman Gonzalez works to help ensure that New York’s neediest communities are covered by the the city’s annual budget, supporting organizations that address issues related to low-income New Yorkers, including immigrants, the homeless, and job-seeking adults. Since 2002, Councilwoman Gonzalez has served as the representative for District 38, which includes Bay Ridge Towers, Borough Park, Gowanus, Greenwood Heights, Red Hook, South Slope, Sunset Park, and Windsor Terrace.

In the past, Sara Gonzalez has been Executive Director of a Southwest Brooklyn non-profit serving youth and seniors and led movements in HIV/AIDS education and prevention. She was also chairperson of Community Board 7, working on projects related to environmental justice, waterfront development, and health care for all. We are glad that Councilwoman Gonzalez continues to support our community healthcare initiatives through this discretionary award.

This is AMPHS’ first year obtaining discretionary funding through the NYC Council and we are extremely appreciative of the Council’s continued support of our mission to help underprivileged communities gain health care access. The funding will be allotted to help support our screening event space, enhance outreach efforts, and enhance the organization’s service capacity through additional screening supplies. We would like to thank the NYC Council for their consideration of our application, and we look forward to using this funding to provide additional screening services and health awareness for underserved communities in Brooklyn.

Not an English-speaker? AMPHS now offers multilingual phone support!

stock-footage-multiethnic-group-of-female-customer-service-representatives-talking-on-the-phone-and-looking-atAs part of its efforts to expand its resources to the Latino and Asian community that AMPHS currently serves, AMPHS is proud to announce that it will be offering multilingual support through its phone system and website. This August, we completed a project to launch a multilingual support line in four languages: English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese Chinese.

Individuals can now call in to (212) 256-9036 and speak with a live representative to obtain more information about upcoming health screening events, schedule an appointment, or get in touch with a clinical volunteer for health and wellness counseling and referrals in all four languages. Our automatic messaging system also offers an express portal to information on AMPHS’ upcoming event dates, office location and directions, and operating hours. These added features supplement the existing English-based phone messaging system. We would like to give a big thank you to our volunteers Adriana Cardenas, Pensri Ho, Mon Yuck Yu, and Jie Sun for their contributions to this project.

Beginning next year, AMPHS will be translating sections of its website to Spanish and Chinese to provide community members with easier access to appointment-scheduling, event updates, and information and resources on health and health care. This includes additions of multilingual resources like downloadable brochures and videos. Please stay tuned for more updates!

AMPHS Welcomes New Volunteers to the Team

AMPHS is elated to welcome two new volunteers to its team, Laura Brereton and Pensri Ho.

Brereton_photoLaura Brereton, M.S. joined AMPHS this summer as a policy research advisor. In her role at AMPHS, she will be in charge of managing the policy research and analysis initiatives to better inform the work of the organization in relations to the current changes in health care policy. She is excited to be back in New York City after spending six years in the United Kingdom working as a healthcare policy analyst and qualitative researcher with such organizations as RAND Corporation and The Health Foundation. Brereton has an MSc in public health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a BSc from Boston University. Her research interests focus on international health system comparison and variations in healthcare access.

Pensri HoPensri Ho, Ph.D. has joined the AMPHS team as Project Coordinator of Community Health Research. As a cultural anthropologist, she specializes in healthcare, immigration, race and education. A former academic, she has consulted for non-profit community and social service agencies on healthcare access and cultural sensitivity, ESL training for adult learners, head start programs, urban revitalization and commercial interests, and cultural history learning. Joining AMPHS continues her combined interests in healthcare, immigration, and non-profit social service organizations. Pensri is excited to work with AMPHS to reach its community impact mission and goals through more clearly defined research measures and outcomes.

Both amazing women will be managing crucial organizational projects that will be transforming the way that the organization interacts with its constituents. Look out for more project updates from them!