Month: January 2014

Welcome Aboard, New AMPHS Volunteers!

Four new volunteers have recently joined the organization to dedicate their time in advancing the health and wellness of the Sunset Park community. Please join us in welcoming them aboard!

Peter Suib, Data Systems and Management Advisor

Peter Suib pic copyPeter Suib is joining AMPHS as an advisor in research and data collection. In this role, Peter will provide recommended practices and consistent methods to define, collect and analyze information to better understand the clients AMPHS serves. The analysis will aid in the development of additional client programs and serve as means to secure funding.

Suib has acted as consultant and program manager on many technology and business process improvement projects for over 30 years.  During the course of his career, he has designed, developed and implemented custom software applications for various world class organizations, and was instrumental in leading content integration for KPMG – a U.S. audit, tax and advisory services firm.  He later developed his own company Interactive Valley, providing consulting services focused on Business Process and Knowledge Management.

Guided by his passion for cooking, Suib then ventured into pursuing an alternative career path, where he became a restaurateur overseeing both catering and fine dining at two City Island Yacht clubs.  His journey then shifted back to process and methodology, where he currently leads process improvement projects for Best Buy’s Geek Squad Services, utilizing a Lean Six Sigma framework.

Suib joined AMPHS to gain a better understanding of the needs of the communities at Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and hopes to use the information to expand services and program. His inspiration for joining AMPHS comes from his wife’s lifelong work as a Nurse Practitioner, where she provides health care to the underserved, “making a difference” one client at a time.    

Andreas Tedjasukmana, M.D.,  Clinical Volunteer

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAndreas Tedjasukmana, M.D. will be joining AMPHS as a clinical volunteer. Dr. Tedjasukmana grew up in Indonesia, the home of Courage and Purity. He encountered many challenges, yet acquired valuable experiences away from home; not only earning his Bachelor of Science Degree in Otago University in New Zealand, but furthermore embarked a new journey to Europe in 2005 to pursue his Medical Degree in Poznan University of Medical Science in Poland.  While in medical school, Dr. Tedjasukmana was the founder of the Student Health Clinic and a dedicated member of the Teddy Bear Clinic, both hospital-funded organizations, designed to provide basic medical care to the homeless and underserved families and children.

Granted with his medical diploma in 2009, Dr. Tedjasukmana decided to pursue further education in United States. Since 2010, he has spent considerable time and dedication working for research at the OB/GYN and Anesthesia division in S.U.N.Y Downstate and Lutheran Medical Center. In 2013, Dr. Tedjasukmana completed his observation training at the E.R at S.U.N.Y Downstate Hospital. Having completed USMLE certifications exam, Dr. Tedjasukmana is currently pursuing his residency in the United States.

In the meantime, he is involved extensively with AMPHS’ clinical events with the intent of providing basic health care to the underserved and uninsured communities throughout Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He is also training to be an advocate for the Domestic Abuse and Rape Victims of Beth Israel hospital. His ambitions further him to continue actively as a member of The Coalition for Asian Mental Health while beginning his rotation at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Stan Kogan, Community Research & Outreach Associate

StanStan Kogan will be interning with AMPHS for the spring term as Community Research and Outreach Associate, where he will provide assistance and support in data entry and analysis, community health research, social media communications, and event planning. Kogan’s parents emigrated from the small European country of Moldova in 1996, when he was only 6 years old. He started first grade only months after they arrived to America with no knowledge of English, but quickly learned the culture and language. Kogan has lived the immigrant experience and he feels grateful for the opportunities his family has had in this country.

Kogan began his college career in Baruch College, as an expected Finance major. However, this was around the year 2008, when the housing crash and financial woes were in full swing. It was in this environment that he began to study economics and policy while simultaneously observing the damage that these very institutions had wrought on the country, especially on the poor and middle-class. As a result, despite excellent grades and an acceptance to the Baruch Honors Program, he quickly became disillusioned with his chosen major. Hence, he decided to take a semester off to travel and learn more about himself and what his true interests were.

Over that semester he realized that he had always been deeply passionate about health. Whether it was physical health, nutrition, or socioeconomic disparities, he had always been fascinated and engaged in those subjects. However, he was always told that other than being an M.D., there was little to pursue in health. This is perhaps a common myth amongst immigrant families. Nevertheless, he began to research the possibility of a career in public health and became exceedingly excited at the possibility of working in that field. As a result, he applied to the University at Buffalo (UB) Exercise and Nutrition Science program at their School of Public Health as a way of learning as much about public health and medicine as he could in a bachelor program. After several semesters at UB, he finally discovered that the specific profession he was interested in is Epidemiology, and he has been pursuing that career ever since. Currently, he is in the process of applying to MPH programs and intends to begin shortly.

Kogan is very excited to learn about the role AMPHS plays in disease prevention within the Sunset Park community and believes that the experience he gains with AMPHS will be exceedingly useful in his chosen field.

Olivia MengMeng Zhao, MBA, Chinese Translator

oliviaOlivia (MengMeng) Zhao will be joining AMPHS as a Chinese translator and Mandarin interpreter. Zhao is originally from China, and graduated from Texas A&M University-Commerce in January of 2014 with a MBA. She obtained her Shanghai Foreign Language Interpretation Certification in 2010. Zhao joined AMPHS because of her love for translation. She is excited that AMPHS will give her an opportunity to serve underserved communities in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

We heartily welcome our new volunteers to the AMPHS family!

Feeling down this winter?

depressed individual

Just as there are ailments of the body, there are some ailments that affect the mind. Seeking help from a doctor for mental health issues is just like going to the doctor for pain and aches, so do not hesitate to consult your doctor if you suspect you or a loved one in need of mental support.

However, be aware some medical conditions like thyroid issues and anemia can also cause symptoms similar to those of depression. Ensure that you speak with your doctor about the conditions you are experiencing so he can prescribe the appropriate plan of action.

Another phenomenon to remember, especially in these frigid winter months, is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is normal to feel the ‘winter blues’ once in a while, but do see a doctor if feelings of hopelessness, depression, loss of energy, change in sleep patterns and appetite last for days, and if you can’t seem to motivate yourself to participate in activities you usually enjoy. SAD is believed to be caused by the lack of sunlight, which affects your regular circadian rhythm and create chemical changes in the serotonin in your body that regulates your mood. Generally, your physician will prescribe light therapy as treatment, where you will use a special lamp designed to adjust your mood for a couple of hours each day.

Here are more ways for maintaining a healthy and active mind:

Meditating in an urban environment Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons

Meditating in an urban environment
Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons

  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Learn to relax!
  • Laugh everyday.
  • Help others.
  • Make time for fun.
  • Learn how to manage stress.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Be physically active.
  • Avoid alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.
  • Appreciate nature.

For more information, visit

Contributors: Sloka Iyengar, Ph.D., Alice Bonner, RN

A Big Welcome to Councilman Carlos Menchaca to Sunset Park!

City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca Taking Oath of Office Photo Credit: William Alatriste

City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca Taking Oath of Office
Photo Credit: William Alatriste

AMPHS is pleased to welcome Mr. Carlos Menchaca – the first Mexican American member to be elected to public office in New York – as a Council Member for the 38th district which includes Bay Ridge towers, Sunset Park, Greenwood Heights, Red Hook and Windsor Terrace. Menchaca was officially sworn into office at a symbolic inauguration ceremony at Sunset Park High School on Sunday, January 12, 2014.

AMPHS was delighted to be in attendance to witness the historic ceremony, which was joined by a number of public officials including: Public Advocate Letitia James; U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer; State Senator Velmanette Montgomery; City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; Councilmembers Vincent Gentile, Brad Lander, David Greenfield, Stephen Levin, Antonio Reynoso and Jumaane Williams; Assemblymember Felix Ortiz; and Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. The ceremony, hosted by Linda Sarsour, featured inspirational speeches by community leaders, praising Carlos’ continuing dedication to advancing the public good. It was a time of mixed emotions that emphasized the importance of diversity and community support.

Thirty three year-old Menchaca grew up in El Paso, Texas, after which he came to Brooklyn, New York and started his political career as a community organizer. Carlos has been active in super-storm Sandy recovery efforts as well.

As compared to other ethnic populations, a greater proportion of Mexican Americans are in the US on less than stable legal grounds; hence Carlos’ presence in city council will prove to be extremely beneficial.

Growing up in public housing and attending public schools, Carlos has had first-hand experience in the inequalities of life and promises to work hard to give opportunities to immigrants who may not have the same resources as others. His efforts as Councilmember will include:

  • increasing community health and wellness,
  • improving the community’s resilience to disasters,
  • making affordable housing more accessible,
  • improving the quality of public schools and after-school programs, and
  • training residents with new skills, and providing them with living wage salary.

We would like to welcome Carlos to the community, and look forward to working with him to increase health care accessibility in Sunset Park and the rest of New York City.

AMPHS Welcomes New Chief Operating Officer

Ravi JoshiWe would like to welcome Ravi Joshi, MS as the Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at AMPHS. Previously, Ravi worked with Alameda County Health Care for the Homeless Program (ACHCHP); a federally-funded 330(h) Health Care for the Homeless program in Northern California for over ten years.  Ravi was a vital leader in the provision of primary care health, mental health and social services in the ACHCHP mobile clinics and with subcontracting agencies.

Ravi’s true particular strength lies in the fusion of public health policy/advocacy and the provision of individual direct services. She has used her analytic skills and fused them with her deep sense of ethics to create outcomes steeped in social justice, righting disparities and working with dispossessed persons at their level, working to bring them to their feet as she transformed systems around her.

In 2000, Ravi became an Alameda County Public Health Department Leadership Fellow, a prestigious Program for training and developing future Leaders of the Alameda County Public Health Department to tackle health inequality using a social justice framework.  Ravi also became a Public Health 101Trainer, carrying out countywide trainings on health inequity and social justice frameworks for public health.

Ms. Joshi has also been the key in the ACHCHP Interim Care Clinic (ICC).  She singlehandedly created a functioning stable site clinic at a location frequented by hard-to-reach, service resistant homeless individuals, excluded from primary care services. This clinic bridged the gulf between traditional primary care and ACHCHP street-based medical and social services, a space where clinicians and social workers could work with “service resistant” persons to teach “patienting” skills that clients needed when referred on to primary care clinics for their ongoing chronic care.

Ravi completed her Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Management. During this time she led projects in Boston, San Francisco as well as global health studies in which she advised programs in process and operations improvement strategies as well as projects in which she advocated for expansion and research in public mental health services to underserved populations.

We are thrilled to have Ravi on the team!

Learn how to take care of your eyes in 60 seconds

Vision Sceening

An AMPHS community member undergoing a vision screening.

Just because you don’t have any eye health issues right now doesn’t mean you can skip a visit to the ophthalmologist! Routine eye examinations are necessary to detect problems in the eye before they become too severe. Also, eye exams can help the doctor catch health problems such as diabetes. January is Eye Health Month, so read ahead for tips on maintaining good eye health.

Eye examination

Undergoing an eye examination
Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons

  • Make sure you undergo regular eye and vision examinations.
  • Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts and fruits to provide the body with all the ingredients to maintain good vision and prevent macular degeneration.
  • Protect your eyes at work by wearing appropriate eye protection gear.
  • Looking at the computer screen for extended periods of time can damage your eyes, and result in ‘Computer Vision Syndrome.’  This can be prevented by ensuring appropriate lighting while working, and by viewing the computer screen at a distance of 20-28 inches from the eyes. Making a conscious effort to blink while looking at the screen (to prevent the eyes from drying out) and taking frequent breaks help as well.
  • If you are a welder, a medical technologist, or are involved in the manufacture of electric circuit boards, you need to take special care of your eyes by wearing the proper personal protective equipment.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes against the UV radiation of the sun.

For more information, visit

AMPHS routinely provides eye examinations to community members of the Sunset Park area. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming AMPHS events and don’t forget to sign up for vision screenings at AMPHS! Our vision assistance program will provide you with a free visual acuity and macular degeneration screening and connect you with a local optometrist for a free eye examination as well as free glasses if you are eligible.

Contributors: Sloka Iyengar, Ph.D., Sonny Nijjar

Check Out AMPHS’ January Programs!

Vision screening at AMPHS

A community member undergoing vision screening at an AMPHS event

The Academy of Medical and Public Health Services (AMPHS) invites you to attend our January events. Appointments are preferred for all in-house screenings. Make sure you reserve your spot well in advance!


Eye Health Month AMPHS Health Screening EventVision Of Eyechart With Glasses

When: Saturday, 1/18/2014 from 1pm to 5pm

Where: AMPHS Headquarters, 5306 Third Avenue, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11220

Walk-ins welcome; appointments preferred. Screenings can be scheduled by calling (212) 256-9036 or emailing

AMPHS will be offering free health screenings, comprised of testing for BMI, blood pressure, vision, dementia, Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS, along with healthy lifestyle counseling, information about health insurance and prescription assistance. In recognition of Eye Health Month, additional eye health resources will be distributed and AMPHS social workers will assist with helping participants obtain free eye exams and prescription lenses.

Policy Presentation on the Affordable Care Act (ACA)ACA act

When: Friday, 1/24/2014 (Time to be announced)

Where: Turning Point Outreach Center, 423 39th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11220

The presentation will provide an overview of effects of ACA on employees with employer insurance, information for community members on insurance options, and dispelment of popular misconceptions on the ACA.

Diabetes Nutrition Workshop and Counselingfruits vegges nuts

When: Friday, January 24th, 2014 from 10:30am – 1:00pm

Where: United Sunset Senior Center, 475 53rd Street, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11220-2712

No appointment needed; walk-ins welcome. Workshop will be conducted in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

Given that January is when most of us have made new resolutions, come see how AMPHS can help you keep those resolutions for the rest of the year! In this workshop, we will talk about sensible eating habits, especially for diabetes patients. We will discuss food alternatives that you can use to substitute some of those food favorites you like to eat so you can maintain healthy sugar levels year-round. After the workshop, our clinical volunteers will offer a nutrition counseling session to examine your dietary habits and provide guidance on making some healthier food choices.