Photo: First-year medical students volunteer at a community outreach event at Saint Cecelia's Parish in New York City.
For more than 13 years, La Casita de la Salud, the NYMC student-run clinic, has been providing medical services, health education and counseling to the East Harlem community. On Saturday mornings, medical students and volunteer faculty members arrive at the clinic ready to offer comprehensive health care services to uninsured New Yorkers and provide culturally competent care. In the early days, they offered basic primary and preventive care, non-emergency urgent care, health education and awareness, physical exams, vaccinations, sexually transmitted infection testing, laboratory testing, referrals and screenings to help patients register for Medicaid, Family Health Plus and other free public insurance programs. Over the years, La Casita has augmented it services to further bridge the gap in health disparities.
La Casita’s community outreach team has connected with a local church where outreach volunteers engage church-goers in the health care system and distribute fresh fruit. The Clinic also distributes Health Bucks to promote healthy eating. Health Bucks are $2 coupons allocated by the New York City Health Department, redeemable at all New York City farmers markets to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
La Casita is also teaming up with outside organizations. They have partnered up with Net Impact, a nonprofit entrepreneur organization, to leverage the strengths of a network of professionals in the health care system. Together, they have identified community organizations to partner with and developed strategies to engage with the East Harlem community at large. La Casita has also partnered with the MAS program, a Mexican Embassy liaison as a part of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, to connect women without regular access to gynecological services to La Casita and its women’s health services.
“La Casita is a representation of our students’ humanity and commitment to service. Its growth is nourished by the dedication of our faculty and students, and its potential for growth is exponential. We are excited about upcoming developments and opportunities to be involved.” said Roxanna Nahvi, School of Medicine Class of 2020 and La Casita de la Salud administrative director.