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Bronx Pastors Pledge to Continue Fight against Segregated Specialty Care in Academic Hospitals

Bronx, NY – on Friday, May 3rd, Bronx Health REACH held its annual pastor’s breakfast to honor the work done by the 47 churches participating in the Bronx Health REACH Faith-Based Outreach Initiative (FBOI) and discuss the future of the FBOI and the Segregated Care Campaign. The Segregated Care Campaign seeks to improve the current unequal access to outpatient specialty care in teaching hospitals across New York through a state-level bill that would require hospitals to provide the same care to everyone regardless of their health insurance or even if they don’t have health insurance. Since 2007, the FBOI coalition has mobilized and educated over 5,000 clergy members to promote equal access to care in New York City. At the end of the breakfast, the pastors renewed their commitment to the campaign and identified concrete ways their congregations could be leaders in this important effort.

Over thirty people attended the breakfast, including a representative from Congressman Jose Serrano’s office. Jaime Gutierrez from the New York Academy of Medicine presented the FBOI’s achievements over the last ten years, including:

  • Establishing health ministries and culinary committees to improve policies and practices for selecting, preparing, and serving healthy meals to their congregations.
  • Organizing health activities such as Fine, Fit and Fabulous, a nutrition and fitness program, and The Way, a support program for congregants living with diabetes.
  • Distributing 42,792 pieces of health education literature.
  • Holding 1,671 events, including workshops, presentations and health fairs, reaching 32,574 community residents.
  • Delivering over 600 health and health equality-related sermons reaching an average of 5,970 congregants per month.

Following Jaime’s presentation, Dr. Neil Calman, President/CEO of the Institute for Family Health, along with Reverend Dr. Foley from Cosmopolitan Church of the Lord Jesus and Shena Elrington, the Director of the Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, provided an update on the Segregated Care Campaign. Overwhelmingly, the pastors were interested in continuing their work with Bronx Health REACH and committed to the following activities:

  • Identifying congregants who have experiences separate and unequal medical care and encourage them to share their stories with Bronx Health REACH.
  • Inviting Bronx Health REACH representatives to future clergy and community meetings to talk about segregated care.
  • Educating elected officials about the issue of segregated care and its impact on the congregation members, their constituents.

We look forward to working with the pastors and their congregations over the next ten years on this initiative and others to improve make health equality a reality and improve the health of the Bronx.

For more information about the FBOI coalition and the Segregated Care Campaign, please email or call (212) 633-0800 x1232