Every August, community health centers across the country celebrate National Health Center Week
The week highlights success in providing access to affordable, high-quality, cost-effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people.
For many of health centers, the week is an opportunity to showcase their services and engage the community with free health screenings, open houses, and health fairs.
This year, Urban Health Plan (UHP), a network of community health centers located in the Bronx and Queens in New York , teamed up with Henry Schein.
Together, we held the annual National Health Center Week blood drive and health fair at Field of Dreams Park in the Bronx. Approximately 250 community residents attended the event, which featured health screenings, food demonstrations, and exercises to promote fitness.
The day began with an early morning set-up of tents, kiosks and registration by ten TSM volunteers from Henry Schein and several students from the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Charter School in the Bronx, organizing participants. The school is named for the founder of Urban Health Plan, a retired local pediatrician who lived and practiced in the community.
Participants sampled food prepared by Urban Health Plan’s registered dietician Chef Karla Giboyeaux, who invited guests to assist her with prepping vegetables. Chef Karla teaches patients and staff how to cook healthy and nutritious foods using techniques and nutritious recipes at UHP’s La Cocinita, also known as the Little Kitchen.
Participants who completed all of the screenings were given fake currency to be used to purchase health foods and items at a mock grocery store – complete with canned goods, fresh produce, fruits and vegetables and healthy beverages that participants took home with them. “Purchasing” their own foods at the grocery store helped them learn to make healthy purchases on their own.
Urban Health Plan has provided care to the community for more than 42 years.
Our network includes nine health centers, nine school based health centers, three part time clinics and a mobile medical unit. We provide health care and ancillary services regardless of a patient’s inability to pay.
The health fair represents a natural collaboration between Urban Health Plan and Henry Schein’s Healthy Lifestyles Healthy Communities initiative. Both organizations are committed to promoting access to health care and improving the health of underserved communities.
Thanks to Henry Schein, we were able to reach more people in the community and provide them with important health services and educate them on how to create and live a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their families.
By Robin West, Senior Director, Communication, Urban Health Plan