April 11, 2023
World Health Day
While Hurricane Sandy was 10 months ago, the storm’s damage continues to impact individuals on a daily basis. It is estimated that nearly 60% of healthcare providers still remain closed due to storm damage.
Doctors of the World USA’s (MdM USA) initial efforts following the storm were centered on identifying local residents who lack access to healthcare and bringing volunteer doctors for home visits in the Rockaways section of Queens, NY. While deploying these services, the chronic deficit in healthcare infrastructure in the area has also become evident.
Prior to the hurricane, the Rockaways already had federal designation as a Medically Underserved Area and a Health Professional Shortage Area. Twenty-two percent of area residents live below the poverty line and 24% lack consistent health insurance coverage.
It is in response to this situational observation and direct community requests that MdM USA will open its free medical clinic, the Doctors of the World Rockaways Free Clinic in Rockaway Park, New York.
The clinic will initially be open for three clinic sessions per week with a focus on providing primary healthcare services to those that need it most. Our goal is to serve at least 1,500 patients during 5,000 visits in the first year of the program. To support the community in the most effective and sustainable way, we will partner with Catholic Charities to provide disaster case-management services; Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing will provide graduate nursing students to see patients; and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital will work with us to operate a referral system.
The location is undergoing some minor construction and we have hired Dr. Amber Featherstone as the Medical Director. With both an MD and MPH, Dr. Featherstone joins our team from the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center and has extensive experience working in a clinic setting and with vulnerable populations. We are excited for her to get started and to lead our cadre of volunteer doctors.
Please watch for more news and updates as we expect to open the Clinic in coming weeks! Thank you for your support of this important project as we work together to ensure access to healthcare for all.
Henry E. Chang, Executive Director