L’chaim! To a Healthier Boro Park
Boro Park, according to New York City’s latest vital records reports, is one of the city’s safest neighborhoods, where residents can expect to live among its longest and where the most babies are born each year. Yeshivas on every corner, shuls on each block, Boro Park is a bustling couple of acres where the streets are alive with activity and the sidewalks are filled with children playing.
The Boro Park Jewish Community Council has recently launched a public health initiative to help improve on these numbers.
Access Health was founded last month by a broad coalition of the neighborhood’s doctors and medical professionals with the aim of guaranteeing that Boro Park residents have access to state-of-the-art medical information. It plans on researching and releasing groundbreaking studies about the specific health needs of Boro Park, which is home to the youngest average population in Brooklyn and the largest density of Holocaust survivors in the country.
A fundamental Jewish belief is the sanctity of life and the value it places on chessed. As a community that is famously close-knit, Boro Park is home to hundreds of gemachim which offer free of charge a plethora of goods and services, from loans and gowns to carriages and chairs.
Access Health wants to take this a step further by working on preventing someone from getting sick in the first place.
The BPJCC has commissioned a handpicked team of renowned doctors who will serve to educate and empower the community with crucial knowledge that is relevant and scientifically sound. To ensure that all individuals have access to resources that allow them to make informed health decisions, Access Health is also working on a website that will be the springboard for this new initiative. The website will be a platform through which the doctor’s advisory board can disseminate information and respond to community questions and concerns. Each week, Access Health will also deliver researched-based informative articles on a wide range of pivotal health and safety topics to educate the community.
The goal of this program is to eliminate gaps in knowledge and lack of access to resources. Too many women rely on their gynecologist for regular well visits. Too many mothers depend solely on urgent care centers that are meant as first aid to be their children’s all-around doctors. Too many people are unaware of the silent killers of heart disease and diabetes.
If knowledge is power, then Access Health intends to harness that power and utilize its greatest capacity to benefit the community. Arming oneself with accurate information opens the potential to act from a mindset of prevention rather the reaction. Instead of simply responding to illness, individuals can prepare and thereby prevent illness from occurring or reaching a critical point.
Access Health has plenty more ideas which will be rolled out over the coming months and years. Plans for regular workshops, podcasts, roundtables and countless proactive resources are being formulated so that this community can do what it does best even better.
For our children. For our elders. And of course, for the most precious gift of all, life itself.