Author: amphsnational

Founded in 2010, AMPHS strives to create a local system of making care more accessible to immigrant New Yorkers through culturally-sensitive intervention methods, de-institutionalized healthcare environments, and grassroots outreach. Our Mission: Academy of Medical & Public Health Services is a not-for-profit health service organization with a triple aim to identify barriers to health and wellness in underserved immigrant communities; coordinate truly needed primary care with social assistance; and deliver care with dignity and empathy to marginalized New Yorkers. Through its community public health interventions, AMPHS lends to the empowerment of individuals and communities to create their own local and culturally-sensitive health and wellness paradigms. Our Vision: AMPHS strives to be a premiere interdisciplinary health service organization, building faith and transparency within our communities. From strengthening our foundation through the public trust, we work to integrate healthcare systems, education, awareness, and disease prevention such that all people can appreciate healthcare not as a privilege, but as a basic human right.

Meet Margarita: Immigrant, Mother, and Growing Advocate 

Margarita, 48, lives with her husband and two sons in Bay Ridge. She immigrated to the US from Mexico twenty years ago for financial reasons, and has lived in Brooklyn ever since. When Margarita went searching for a new job in Sunset Park, the Center for Family Life recommended that she focus on improving her English, and referred her to AMPHS. “I said to myself, if that’s the path, then let’s go, let’s get started.”

A few weeks later, she was enrolled in AMPHS’ Advanced English Class with Bonnie Blaha, one of AMPHS ESL instructors. Margarita quickly became one of the most outspoken students in class and often encouraged her classmates to be more active in the classroom. “Bonnie has lots of patience with us. She is wonderful.”

AMPHS English classes provide students with the language skills they need to survive and connect community members to each other through a common goal. They also provide access to holistic health and wellness services, further empowering community members to understand and assert their rights.

Once Margarita also learned about AMPHS health services, she immediately took advantage of AMPHS Saturday health screening services and signed up for weekly counseling with AMPHS’ licensed mental health therapist, Matilde Pedrero. “There are a lot of people here that don’t speak English… there are people who don’t ever receive check-ups. Here they have a chance to see a doctor, to learn English, to understand their situation.”

Though Margarita has graduated from AMPHS Adult Literacy program, she continues to play an important role in the AMPHS community as a volunteer, encouraging others to learn English and spreading the word about the organization. “I bring people in, little by little- my friend, my neighbor.” Margarita often brings her sons Jonathan and Jordan into the office as well. “The kids are happy here, they love to come here. They say, mom, let’s go to the school.”

AMPHS services, she points out, can make an enormous difference in someone’s life: “I am especially worried for my Guatemalan friends, the ones working dangerous jobs, the delivery bikers. Just the other day, a 16-year-old boy was killed delivering food. He probably barely knew how to read the ‘No-turn’ sign… or maybe if he had known some English he wouldn’t have to be dodging cars, maybe he could be waiting tables somewhere instead.”

 

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Culture Day: Celebrating Diversity

On June 25th, AMPHS and the Arab American Association of New York, held a celebration of the diverse cultures that make up Brooklyn. Featuring the traditional food, garb, song, and performances from our very own ESOL students, we spoke to importance of diversity, understanding, and community solidarity. It was a beautiful unification of the different ethnic groups and generations among hundreds of students and their family members, to show that it is possible to erase differences and barriers to develop one voice, one community.

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AMPHS Graduates its Inaugural Adult Literacy Class!

In March, with funding from NYC Department of Community and Youth Development, AMPHS began offering six English classes for over 150 immigrant community members from Beginner to Advanced levels. Our adult literacy program furthers our mission to serve and empower NYC’s immigrant community, complementing our health and wellness programs by providing our students with the English skills for self-advocacy in both healthcare settings and in their everyday lives. We also offer babysitting services for parents who otherwise would not be able to take the classes.

Students improved upon their written and verbal communication skills, and connected with other English language learners in the community. They also took part in field trips around NYC (visiting the Brooklyn Public Library, Statue of Liberty, Museum of the City of New York, and even local restaurants!), participated in our first Culture Day, and celebrated all their hard work and progress at the end of June at the AMPHS Graduation Ceremony.  Students further engaged in conversation groups to practice their English with peers and work readiness workshops to help students advance in their career search beyond the classes. Take a look here for a list of graduating students!

The success of the classes would not have been possible without the hard work of our Spring 2018 Adult Literacy team: a big thanks to Somia El-Rowmeim, Adult Education Specialist and Adviser, and ESOL Instructors Jarod Yong, Bonnie Blaha, Weam Al-Rubaye, Patrizia Barroero and Ekhlas Sedhom. 

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Registration for our Fall Cycle is now open. To register, please call our offices at (212) 256-9036 to make an appointment for registration and testing! Registration ends August 31st, 2018.

AMPHS is Hiring!

AMPHS Year-End Campaign Collage

AMPHS is expanding its programs and seeking new members like you to join its team! Become a part of a dedicated team of volunteers and staff working towards expanding healthcare access among our most vulnerable communities.

Full-Time Positions:

Coordinator of Literacy, Education and Training

Coordinator of Health Programs

Part-Time Positions:

ESOL Instructor

Community Health Worker

Volunteer Positions: 

ESOL Tutor

 

For more information or to apply, please contact personnel.resources@amphsonline.org.

Making Your #Right2Health a Reality

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AMPHS wants to hear from you this holiday season!

Between now and the end of the year, take a few minutes to write about the health and wellness needs of your community. What barriers are you or someone you know currently experiencing in the pursuit of a healthy life? Are you having any trouble accessing quality care? What kinds of health and wellness services do you feel would improve the lives of the people in your community, your family?

Share your story or idea by emailing us at nicholas.maistros@amphsonline.org or by tagging us and posting your message to Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #Right2Health. Please, protect the privacy of your subjects by removing any identifying information.

At the beginning of the new year, we will aggregate your messages and use them to tailor our services, making your #Right2Health a reality!

AMPHS’ Action Plan: Bridging the Healthcare Gap in Uncertain Times

Academy of Medical and Public Health Services

In anticipation of the incoming administration, we at AMPHS are maximizing our efforts to protect the rights of our immigrant community members and to make health and wellness accessible to those in need.

This is our plan:

  1. Provide free health and disease prevention services to the New Yorkers who might lose health insurance or be excluded from the healthcare system in 2017.
  2. Educate immigrant communities about their immigration and healthcare rights through Know Your Rights Workshops and street canvasses.
  3. Coordinate care plans for individuals who are left out of the healthcare system and connect them to resources to help them navigate their options.
  4. Assemble pro bono legal service providers to assist immigrants in conducting immigration screenings, securing health insurance, and being represented in immigration proceedings.
  5. Conduct active street outreach to identify community needs and sentiments.
  6. Convene community leaders and members to discuss action roadmaps to protect our community.
  7. Support New York City’s efforts to fight back against threats and coercion against immigrant communities.

No matter the political situation, AMPHS remains devoted to advancing quality healthcare to those in need, regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. We are here for our immigrant communities.

We Are Here for Our Immigrant Communities

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As with so many other grassroots organizations devoted to human rights and social justice, we at AMPHS are trying to anticipate the consequences of this presidential election. These are uncertain and frightening times—especially for the community members we serve, who are particularly vulnerable to a number of proposed policy changes, both in terms of their healthcare and their immigration status.

In recent years, we’ve seen a great deal of progress on these fronts. Thanks to the tireless efforts of activists across the country and the bravery of those who risked deportation by coming out of the shadows, President Obama unveiled his executive actions on immigration, providing deportation relief and authorization to work for nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants. With the passage of President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act (ACA), barriers to healthcare were beginning to fall, and many who could not previously afford insurance were finally able to realize what we at AMPHS have always deemed a human right—access to quality care.

These successes were not easily won, and their opponents were quick to dismantle them. In June, the Supreme Court, locked in a 4-4 ruling, effectively deemed President Obama’s immigration action unconstitutional. And earlier this month, we saw the election of not only a president but a Congress (and with them the likely appointment of numerous right-leaning federal judges) poised to repeal the ACA and staunch the rights and security of undocumented immigrants and their families.

With these developments, how can we help but feel defeated? All of this progress just to be thrown swiftly back to zero?

But we have to remind ourselves that the political landscape, as turbulent as it seems, is not all that different now than it was when we began our fight. In fact, in many ways, it was worse. We didn’t begin by defending rights already afforded to the marginalized; we began without rights to defend. We began without visibility, without a network of support. We began without a movement.

From the start, AMPHS’ mission was to empower “individuals and communities to create their own local and culturally-sensitive health and wellness paradigms.” And it still is. We were founded on the principles of advancing healthcare to those in need, regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. It’s what we’ve always done, and we’re learning how to do it better and better every day.

Yes, we may be disappointed, and we may be scared, but this is not a reset. We are not starting from scratch, because from the beginning, we’ve taken nothing for granted. All these years, and what do we have to show for them? We have a stalwart—and a visible—network of support that persists not because of the ACA, not because of DACA or DAPA, not because of any elected official. We have it because we built it ourselves. So we persist, so we continue to build on what we have, and we already have so much. We have each other.

We at AMPHS are closely monitoring these new developments, and we promise to keep our communities informed of their rights and resources. Please go to this link for a list of key updates on AMPHS’ programs and the president-elect’s policies, and do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. Call us at (212) 256-9036 or email info@amphsonline.org.

We are here for you.


Hewett Chiu

President & CEO, AMPHS

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Healthcare, Immigration, and a Turbulent Political Environment

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Community members rally in Brooklyn, NY, to protect the rights of immigrants.

There are many uncertainties regarding President-elect Trump’s shifting policies on healthcare and immigration. AMPHS is closely monitoring these new developments and will provide updates as we receive them.

Here’s what we know so far.

  • AMPHS will continue to conduct health screenings in Sunset Park. Please contact us at (212) 256-9036 or email at info@amphsonline.org to make an appointment. All of our health services remain free and open to the public regardless of insurance or immigration status.
  • AMPHS is putting a hold on our DACA Ed outreach until further notice. Individuals already enrolled in Fall DACA Ed courses can continue the program for educational advancement purposes. However, they will be discouraged from applying for DACA until we have more information about the President-elect’s plans.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that information shared via DACA applications is protected from disclosure to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings, though USCIS reserves the right to issue a Notice To Appear or referral to ICE should criteria be met. USCIS also states that this policy may change. We do not know whether there will be a move by the new administration to use USCIS information to remove groups that were never targeted for deportation in the past. Past groups targeted for deportation were generally individuals who had been convicted of a crime. Moreover, President-elect Trump’s plan to deport millions of immigrants seems unfeasible in light of his joint proposal to enforce federal cutbacks. Despite this, circumstances are unpredictable at this time.
  • For those who are not currently DACAmented (that is, receiving benefits under the DACA program) we are no longer citing DACA as a pathway to health insurance. Individuals currently DACAmented will still be able to apply for health insurance under PRUCOL, but we are uncertain of future implications.
  • We do not suggest submitting DACA applications or renewals at this time. Applications submitted now can take several months to be processed and will likely not protect the applicant should DACA be eliminated.
  • While the ACA will be difficult to dismantle entirely, the President-elect can immediately target subsidies, the individual mandate, and the employer mandate. Instead of the ACA, President-elect Trump has proposed tax deductions for healthcare premiums, authorization to purchase health insurance across state lines, and block grants for state Medicaid programs. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, President-elect Trump’s healthcare plans could cost up to $550 billion and result in the loss of coverage for over 20 million people. The President-elect has suggested he would keep some components of the ACA, such as pre-existing condition protections and the option for children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan up to age 26.
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AMPHS marches with NYC Council Immigration Committee Chair Carlos Menchaca.

 

  • The Obama administration has proposed a new rule that would prevent states from withholding Title X federal family planning money from certain recipients for any reason other than the provider’s “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.” Under this rule, states will no longer be able to defund Planned Parenthood. The rule will go into effect after a 30-day public comment period.
  • According to Donald Trump’s website, his administration plans to remove thousands of so-called “criminal aliens” in “joint operations with local, state, and federal law enforcement.” However, many local law enforcement agencies have already claimed that they will not aid President-elect Trump’s deportation efforts, including Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. Police departments across the country have shared similar sentiments, as have the mayors of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Newark, Denver, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Donald Trump’s website also states that his administration will “end sanctuary cities,” terminate DACA, and triple the number of ICE agents. And in a recent “60 Minutes” interview, Trump vowed to deport up to 3 million immigrants. Many have argued that these plans are unrealistic and prohibitively expensive, and as already mentioned, many cities have publicly promised to defend against such policies. However, an expansion of ICE and/or more frequent raids is certainly possible. Click here to learn more about how to protect yourself if the police or ICE come to your house.

No matter the political situation, AMPHS remains devoted to advancing quality healthcare to those in need, regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. We stand in solidarity with our immigrant communities and will work as always to defend the human rights of the most vulnerable.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (212) 256-9036 or email at info@amphsonline.org. We are here for you.

We Are Hiring!

Neighborhood Outreach Organizer

The Neighborhood Outreach Organizer is responsible for conducting outreach in Sunset Park for AMPHS’ health and immigrant service programs to spread awareness and empower community members to become independent and resource-driven. He or she will spread the word about AMPHS’ services in the field across small businesses and community organizations to enroll individuals in AMPHS’ free programs (including free health screenings and classes) and the DACA Education Initiative (a Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs program aimed at identifying individuals who qualify for DACA to assist them in applying and fulfilling their education requirement for DACA application). The Neighborhood Outreach Organizer reports directly to the Chief of Staff.

 

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Canvass small businesses and community based organizations in Sunset Park in the effort to conduct outreach and presentations to spread awareness about AMPHS programs, services, and government programs
  • Provide culturally-sensitive health education, information and outreach in community-based settings, including, but not exclusive to the AMPHS center, schools, community centers, senior centers, community board meetings, local businesses, shelters, etc.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with the neighborhood stakeholders
  • Coordinate monthly stakeholders meeting for Community Advisory Board

 

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Preference given to candidates with a bachelor’s diploma or higher.
  • Prior outreach, canvassing, or organizing experience preferred.
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to listen well, speak articulately in a public setting and use language appropriately.
  • Written and oral fluency in Spanish and English and/or Chinese and English required.
  • Experience working in a multi-cultural setting.
  • Strong knowledge of Sunset Park, Brooklyn through prior experience living or working in the neighborhood.
  • Knowledge of some medical terminology preferred, but not required.
  • Basic computer skills and knowledge in Microsoft Office.

Time Commitment:

  • 15-20 hours per week; weekend availability required.
  • The agreement for this position is effective until June 30, 2017 with the opportunity for renewal thereafter.

 

To Apply

Please submit a copy of your cover letter and resume to personnel.resources@amphsonline.org. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling first-come, first-serve basis until September 30, 2016.

The SCOTUS Ruling: Our Fight Continues

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Immigrant Rights activists demonstrate outside the Supreme Court. Photo: Allison Shelley/Getty Images

On November 20th, 2014, immigrant families across the country gathered to watch President Obama’s prime-time address. “For more than 200 years,” the President began, “our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities—people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose. But today, our immigration system is broken—and everybody knows it.”

The President proceeded to unveil his historic Immigration Accountability Executive Action, which included an expansion of the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well as the creation of a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. This executive action would have provided deportation relief and authorization to work for nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants.

While there were still many questions, and though it was certain that opponents would immediately endeavor to block the action, it was still a moment of great hope. Perhaps the United States was finally making a shift, as a nation and a culture, toward progress, generosity—the recognition of the many millions in this country quietly contributing but hiding in the shadows. Perhaps things were really changing.

The recent ICE raids seem to suggest otherwise, and now that the Supreme Court, locked in a 4-4 ruling, has effectively deemed President Obama’s immigration action unconstitutional, the nation’s undocumented population once again has much to fear.

Unfortunately, disappointments of this sort are nothing new to our immigrant neighbors. But this fight is far from over, and we at AMPHS stand in solidarity with our immigrant communities. We will continue the struggle for immigrant rights—their right to work, under proper working conditions. Their right to provide for their families, and to keep those families together. Their right to education, to decent housing, to visibility. Their right to equal treatment under the law, to live free from the fear of discrimination and deportation. Their right to quality healthcare.

Despite this major setback, we at AMPHS still have hope for this country. We believe that change is not only possible, but necessary. As the President said in November of 2014, “we are and always will be a nation of immigrants…What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal—that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.”

We must settle for nothing less.

If you have questions about the Supreme Court decision, please contact us at (212) 256-9036 or info@amphsonline.org.

You can also attend New York Immigration Coalition’s town hall meeting on Thursday, June 30, or call their hotline on June 28 and 29 from 4pm-7pm.

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