Month: October 2013

AMPHS Builds Hope Among Volunteers and the Community

DSC_0226One of the ways AMPHS strives to make an impact on the community is through regular health screenings. AMPHS believes that access to healthcare should be a right to everyone irrespective of their insurance and economic status, and not a privilege. AMPHS has organized and hosted a number of health screening services since August in the Brooklyn area – in addition to routine health screenings, AMPHS has organized breast cancer screenings and screenings for Alzheimer’s disease. In the past few months alone, AMPHS was able to impact the lives of over 90 community members.

AMPHS touches the life of community members on a regular basis. One regular community member, Gail Rivers, says that she found out about AMPHS when she came to the headquarters and was pleasantly surprised to find out that all the health services we offered were free. “AMPHS provides a warm and welcoming feeling to its clients. It is very unlike going to a regular doctor for a checkup. I do not have health insurance, and it is good to know that there is someone for you when you need them.”

A resident of the Sunset Park area, Gail is certain that she will recommend AMPHS to her friends and family members. “The clinical volunteers and especially Mon Yuck, the Chief of Staff at AMPHS – go the extra mile to make sure community members understand their options and get the help needed.”

Our health screenings have touched the lives of our volunteers as well.

Workshop on Breast Self-Exams and Mammograms at Turning Point Staff Health Day with Alice Bonner, RN

Workshop on Breast Self-Exams and Mammograms at Turning Point Staff Health Day with Alice Bonner, RN

Coordinator of Community Health Research Pensri Ho served as an event volunteer for the Turning Point Outreach Center Staff Health Day that was held on October 25th. The event was held in collaboration with Turning Point to encourage health awareness among their community. To Pensri, this event was unusual because this was the first time community members scheduled an appointment and completed the AMPHS health survey online. This enabled AMPHS to screen more community members than we usually would have. Pensri recalls that one middle-aged community member was so touched by the clinical volunteer’s bedside manner that she wanted him to be her primary care physician. All the community members mentioned that they were extremely impressed with the thoroughness of how medical history was taken, the time that was devoted to them on a personal level and the advice they received from the clinical volunteers.

President & CEO Hewett Chiu served as the clinical volunteer for the Breast Cancer Awareness Screening Event on October 19th, AMPHS’ monthly in-house health screening. This event was focused on community members learning more about breast cancer, as well as the fact that despite popular belief, men can be affected by breast cancer too. There was an equal mix of community members returning for follow up care and regular check-ins and new community members coming to access healthcare for the first time. Community members were also given personalized coaching sessions, resources, and educational materials for breast cancer susceptibility and prevention, and were urged to made follow up appointments for future mammogram screenings in December.  According to Hewett, it is heartwarming to hear the community members share their stories and learn more about the incredible suffering they have to live through every day.

Screening at Pentecostal Church El Camino with Hewett Chiu

Screening at Pentecostal Church El Camino with Hewett Chiu

Talking about one particular incident, Hewett recalls: “an elderly gentlemen, who is a regular AMPHS member, came in and complained of terrible pain in his limbs and minor respiratory distress. Upon further inspection, his left foot was greatly swollen, a condition which was suggestive of a dire heart condition. We immediately performed a focused screening, then created a plan and gave him directions for seeking follow up care and treatment. Throughout the whole process, we educated him on what might be happening, what he should do, and what everything we’re doing means. He saw how much we cared for him and really took our advice to heart. Because of our quick intervention, when we called to check out how he was doing a few days later, he reported that he was feeling much better than he had in many weeks, and we may have possibly prevented a terrible medical emergency from occurring.”

Chief of Staff Mon Yuck Yu also served as a clinical volunteer for United Sunset Senior Health Center Alzheimer’s Screening on Friday, Sept 13th. AMPHS first provided a 45-minute workshop to the seniors at United Sunset on dementia and its origins, effects, methods of prevention, and the importance of getting tested.  District 51 Assemblyman Felix Ortiz also made a presence at the event. Ortiz expressed how grateful he was that AMPHS was able to provide memory screening services, telling the story of his grandmother’s affliction with the disease in the past and encouraging the seniors to get screened. For Mon Yuck, it is evident that AMPHS fills an important gap in the lives of numerous community members. “Many community members who were at risk for dementia would be living their everyday lives without knowing or without understanding how to prevent the condition. Many think that it is only important to either eat well or stay active, but they are not aware that there are other health measures they should be taking such as constantly engaging in social and cognitively-stimulating activities.”

AMPHS’ services continue to impact the lives of both its community members and its volunteers. AMPHS is grateful that is has had the opportunity to engage in over 10 screening events in the past 3 months and change the lives of so many individuals. We would like to thank our partners New York City Housing Authority, Affinity Health Plan, Interfaith Medical Center, Turning Point Outreach Center, Pentecostal Church El Camino, United Sunset Senior Center, SUNY Brooklyn Educational Opportunity Center, Millennium Development Senior Center, and Latino Commission on AIDS for making these events possible. We look forward to bring additional health events to community members in the coming year.

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AMPHS Partners with Project Renewal to Offer Free Mammograms at December Screening Event

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We are excited to announce that Project Renewal will be partnering with AMPHS to provide free mammograms to community members on Saturday December 14th,2013

Project Renewal is a non-profit organization based in lower Manhattan; its aim is to end the cycle of homelessness by empowering homeless men and women with mental illness and/or addiction the means to rebuild their lives. Project Renewal provides comprehensive services to families and individuals to empower them to take control of their health and well-being. A massively successful endeavor of Project Renewal is the ScanVan Program. This program is a mobile clinic that provides mammograms, chest X-rays, and cervical exams to New Yorkers, regardless of their medical insurance status. The ScanVan Program is a free service offered to women and men of all economic and cultural backgrounds.

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Project Renewal’s Scan Van

On Saturday, the ScanVan will be parked outside the AMPHS office in Brooklyn Sunset Park, offering its services simultaneously with AMPHS’ monthly in-house screening. Project Renewal will provide mammograms for women 40 and older who haven’t had a mammogram in the past year. Women under the age 40 but with a history of breast cancer in their family are also advised to get themselves checked. This service is offered for free to all participants; those with health insurance will have the service covered by their insurance companies with no out-of-pocket costs and individuals without health insurance will obtain the service at no cost.

What is breast cancer and who should be screened?

Breast cancer is the second leading cancer-related cause of death after lung cancer in women. Compared to 1989, the incidence of breast cancer has decreased dramatically because of earlier detection through better screening procedures. Hence, screening services for breast cancer are very important. Almost 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump in their breasts. While women above age 40 are generally at higher risk for breast cancer and should perform an annual mammogram, professionals recommend that all women conduct a breast self-exam (BSE) beginning in their twenties.

What types of tests are available?

Breast Self-Exams

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Breast self-exam procedure

40% of breast cancer cases are detected by women who feel a lump while conducting a BSE. Breast self-exams should be done every month in the shower, in front of a mirror, or lying down. They can help you become familiar with the regular look and feel of your breasts so that you can notify your doctor if you notice any irregularities. Here are a few pointers for your breast self-help exams:

  • Know your breasts! A self-breast exam is about knowing what is normal for you.
  •  Check at the same time every month: a week after your period for premenopausal women and the same date of the month for postmenopausal women.
  • Use your eyes and hands to look and feel for changes in lumps, thickness, density, or anything that concerns you.

Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about any lumps. Most lumps will not be cancer, but seeing your doctor is the only way to know for sure.

Talk to your doctor if you find:

  • A change in how the breast or nipple feels
  • A change in the breast or nipple appearance
  • Any nipple discharge—particularly clear discharge or bloody discharge

Mammograms

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A mammogram being performed
Photo credit : wikimedia commons

A mammogram is an X-ray that allows a qualified specialist to examine the breast tissue for any suspicious areas. The breast is exposed to a small dose of radiation that produces an image of the breast tissue. It is important to get a mammogram because it can often show a breast lump before it can be felt. The lumps can be caused by a variety of conditions (e.g. cancer, fatty cells or cysts), but doing the necessary test (mammogram) is the only way to know for sure.

mammogram consists of placing the breasts, one at a time, between two plates. The breast is compressed between the plates, and then exposed to X-rays. In this way, two pictures are taken of each breast –one from above, and one from the side.

Get screened today!

flyerCome get a free mammogram and other screening services during our monthly health screening event. Make an appointment by calling the number below.

When:  Saturday, December 14th. 11am to 4pm

Where: 5306 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11220

To make appointment call:  1-800- 564- 6868

Procedures are 30-min long, non-invasive and completely confidential.

To learn more about Project Renewal, visit http://www.projectrenewal.org/

To learn more about breast self-exams, visit http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam

AMPHS Revises Public Health Survey in Preparation for New Screening Events and Annual Community Health Reports

Community Member Filling Out Survey FormThis past fall, AMPHS rolled out a new version of its health screening survey form, which will be distributed to community members during its health screening events. The new form will be more user-friendly and include questions to facilitate clinician counseling. This will include questions on past vaccination and screening history, diet, sexual history, and advanced directives.

This information will enable AMPHS clinical volunteers to provide more detailed counseling sessions for community members as well as more comprehensive referral services. Participants’ health status will be tracked for improvement during recurrent follow-up appointments. We will also be launching an electronic form for community members with pre-scheduled appointments to complete before each screening to enhance the efficiency of their visit.

The public health data will moreover be entered into an anonymous database to contribute to AMPHS’ public health research project. A Sunset Park Community Health Report is expected to be completed by the end of 2013 for public examination. AMPHS would like to thank its volunteers Pensri Ho, Mon Yuck Yu, Hewett Chiu, Tony Schwartz, Tess Aldrich, Kathleen Tam, and Edith Zang for their contributions to this project.