BY JOE MARVILLI
New York Hospital Queens is reaching out to the surrounding Chinese community, and many others, with a new initiative.
Last week, the hospital announced the launch of the Community Health Initiatives Program, which provides culturally-sensitive services to better help the members of Queens’ diverse population. Since 30 percent of NYHQ patients are Chinese and Chinese is the second most common language spoken by NYHQ patients, that community is the first focus of this new program.
To start, the Health Initiatives Program is establishing a 25-member board of advisors that includes physicians and business leaders. This board will meet regularly to design educational programs for the Chinese community that promote healthy living and disease prevention.
The hospital has also started an in-language service line. Members of the Chinese community only need to call (718) 670-1178 for information, assistance or appointments. According to Dr. Wai Lap Leung, medical director of the Community Health Initiatives, NYHQ has recruited several bilingual volunteers to help patients at the hospital. These volunteers offer translation services, emotional support and navigation with hospital and community resources. In the last two months, these volunteers have helped about 500 patients at the Mother-Baby unit and another 500 on other medical floors.
“The program is designed to eliminate languages barriers, customize and create new programs for the Chinese community,” Leung said. “Internally, our division is to act as the Chinese experts and work as a team to improve the existing service and to create new projects that are needed in our community.”
NYHQ also created a Chinese-language breast cancer support group at the hospital’s Breast Center, expanded authentic Chinese meal options, started delivering Chinese and Korean newspapers to patients, founded a Chinese religious service and established a lecture series in Chinese on health.
Stephen Mills, the hospital’s president and CEO, said that this effort is part of NYHQ’s continued goal of being a welcoming place for the whole community.
“We have worked with you in many different ways, both as patients and in your celebrations,” he said. “The Chinese population has a tremendous amount of talent, prosperity and a significant future in this community. This is your community and we are your community hospital.”
Gary Zuar, senior vice president of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, added that this program will build on Queens’ reputation as the most diverse Borough in the world. While it is starting with Chinese, the program will reach out to other communities in the future as well.
“When you think about Queens, the one thing that comes to mind is the incredible diversity that exists. It is well-known that this is one of the most culturally-diverse areas in the United States,” Zuar said. “I am so pleased that the hospital is expanding its cultural sensitivity program, because it is definitely the right thing to do.”
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Hillcrest), who represents the district that includes NYHQ, praised the hospital for its initiative, as language access is a critical issue for the neighborhood.
“Language access is the number one issue that we get calls and visits on. It is our mission to make not only government, but all sorts of agencies, schools and hospitals open and available to anyone in the community,” she said.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) also congratulated the hospital on its new endeavor.
“This is a great day. Hospitals should be engaging, should be reaching out to everyone in the community, and have a welcoming feel,” he said.
To learn more about NYHQ and all its services, visit www.nyhq.org or call (718) 670-2000.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.