Many immigrants flock to the United States to seek a better life – in search of better housing, better education, better healthcare. But what happens when they have to adapt to a English-speaking environment; to work long hours in laborious, mentally taxing jobs, making just enough to pay the rent; to live in a crowded apartment with poor living conditions? These factors often combine to cause conditions like hypertension and depression, and then healthcare is not something they’re privileged to receive.
AMPHS sees this scenario play out many times among our community members, especially in Sunset Park. While we do not serve as anyone’s primary care provider, our main goal is to equip community members with the resources to manage their own health and to let them know that there is somewhere to turn for help.
On Saturday, June 21st, we held our monthly healthcare event, providing community members with cardiovascular, dementia, and vision screenings, as well as long-term lifestyle counseling. Our partner, Latino Commission on AIDS, was also on site to provide free HIV screenings. A total of 13 community members were seen and over half were referred to additional resources from our partner organizations, including some who were able to sign up for exams for free prescriptive lenses.
Community members came from all walks of life, but what struck us was that many of the issues that they experienced came from strenuous labor, poor eating habits, and hard financial situations. One woman had lost her job because of a broken wrist and then was diagnosed with hypertension and ovarian cancer, but she was too scared to seek therapy due to negative experiences with the local hospital system and unable to pay for procedures because she didn’t have insurance. In situations like these, our clinicians and social workers try to provide them with the resources they need to combat these issues of fear and poor lifestyle behaviors. We address medical questions and concerns from a personalized standpoint to objectively consult with them on the best course of action.
We are happy to provide screenings like these every month. And we hope that community members view us not only as a medical resource but also as a friend when they are in need of any type of health and social assistance. The next in-house screenings will take place Saturday, July 19th and Saturday, August 20th from 1-5pm. We are also proud to announce that we have new screening equipment, thanks to the NYC Council and Barman’s Fund, which will be introduced during our screening this Saturday! Community members interested in scheduling an appointment should call (212) 256-9036.
Image credit: Philly.com