BPJCC Launches 'Access Health' Initiative to Improve Residents' Wellbeing
By: Yehuda Alter
A Boro Park association announced the formation of a new health initiative that will streamline access to medical care and improve the health of neighborhood residents.
The Boro Park Jewish Community Council organized a gathering of local doctors and healthcare organizations, creating a doctors' advisory board. The panel, called Access Health, came in response to Boro Park being declared a "neighborhood of disparity" by the city’s Health Department, meaning it does not have the same quality of care as other areas.
The initiative came together at an exclusive dinner at the Loft on 13th Avenue which was attended by the local doctors who will form the new medical board, as well as from Chevra Hatzalah.
“The discussions,” said Isaac Stern, who serves as president of the Boro Park JCC and of Chevra Hatzalah, “centered on how to improve the healthcare for each individual member of this community. It really fills a void.”
“Boro Park, with its unique cultural makeup, should have a platform to publicize health care data and wellness information,” said Avi Greenstein, CEO of the BPJCC. “For the first time, we have a board of all of Boro Park’s doctors who came together to do just that. With awareness comes better healthcare decisions.”
Some of the discussions at the launch including the recent worrying trend of people forgoing routine medical checkups by doctors. A visit to an OBGYN for a woman who is expecting or to an urgent care does not take the place of a regular visit to a licensed doctor, some of the attendees emphasized.
Chaim Fleischer, a member of the BPJCC board and a noted askan in the medical field, related how he organized a colonoscopy screening for thy Bobover kehilla and five in 30 of those tested were discovered to have dangerously large polyps. They were safely removed but it underscored the importance of proactive medicine.
Access Health will host an ongoing series of workshops, as well as feature a website with a wealth of health information. A team of doctors will also be available to answer questions from the public. The board will meet several times a year and will conduct studies on neighborhood health trends.
Dr. Miriam Knoll of the Jewish Orthodox Women’s Medical Association, or JOWMA, will guide the initiative, supported by Chevra Hatzalah.
“The event,” said Dr. Shimshi Zimmerman, Hatzalah's medical director who served as emcee of the event, “proved to be enlightening, and was successful in highlighting the lack of some very important aspects of medical and preventative healthcare in our community. Some of the community’s leading medical providers put forward some excellent ideas on how to educate and improve access to and the quality of healthcare for every individual in this community.”