BCHN NEWSletter September 2015 Edition
A Note from Eleanor Larrier, BCHN CEO

The month of August was filled with opportunities for BCHN to publicly celebrate and give thanks. We welcomed clients and associates of two more health centers to our network: Via Verde Family Practice, a Montefiore health center in the South Bronx, and Stevenson Educational Campus School Health Center in Soundview, a member of the Montefiore School Health Program. Grant funding from the Bureau of Primary Health Care will enhance access to affordable, quality care, and support care coordination services that address the social determinants of health, including career development and linkages to internships for Stevenson students.

As always, BCHN celebrated National Health Center Week along with several million health center staff patients and supporters across the nation. At our Annual Recognition Dinner, we applauded community health champions right here in the Bronx - our patient navigators, community health workers, nutritionists, patients, and community partners. Seven patients shared their stories with the audience via video, and beamed with pride as they accepted awards for taking responsibility and successfully managing diabetes, hypertension and obesity through increased physical activity and better nutrition. And, on a beautiful summer day, New York City Councilmember Andy King joined energetic day campers, and the Evander Childs Educational Campus football team as they showed off their agility and fitness, going through a fun obstacle course, jumping double dutch, running relay races and topping it off with healthy snacks and beverages at our Annual Health Fair and Field Day.

Some BCHN board members, including Eduardo Alayon, president, and executive team representatives shared in wonderful tributes to health center movement pioneers with more than 2,000 attendees at the National Association of Community Health Centers’ Annual Community Health Institute in Orlando, FL. In celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first two health centers, the torch was passed to a new generation of health center leaders for social change. They have accepted the challenge of maintaining the gains and charting new paths to ensure that health is recognized as a right for all and not a privilege for a few.

Here’s to your health!

Program Highlights

10th Annual Community Health Champions Recognition Dinner

In celebration of National Health Center Week, Bronx Community Health Network, Inc. (BCHN) held its 10th Annual Community Health Champions Recognition Dinner to honor BCHN’s health educators, nutritionists, patient navigators, and patients from each of the 17 affiliated health centers. Read more.

(Clockwise from top left: representatives from Monte Armenia Lugar de Refugio; patient honorees; NY State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) with Eleanor Larrier; and representatives from Highbridge Community Church.)
Special Announcements

BCHN Expands its Reach in the Bronx

BCHN is delighted to announce that it has added two new sites to its list of affiliated health centers – Stevenson Educational Campus school-based health center and the Montefiore Via Verde Family Practice. Read more.


Engage NYC New Launches New HIV Prevention Campaign

Engage-NYC’s latest campaign will officially begin on Thursday, September. 17, 2015.

Engage-NYC is a joint effort by BCHN and Montefiore Medical Group to provide access to high quality health care for the Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) communities in the Bronx. BCHN's affiliated healthcenters in the Bronx are caring places where doctors understand their patients needs and lifestyles.

The LGBTQ population will receive caring, sensitive, primary care, and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment to prevent HIV infection.

For more information of Engage-NYC and PrEP go to, http://www.engagenyc.info/ or follow Engage-NYC Facebook (hyperlink: https://www.facebook.com/engagenyc).

Bronx REACH CHAMPS Highlights

Shop Healthy Kick-off Partners Luncheon

REACH CHAMPS officially kicks off its Shop Healthy initiative with coalition partner GOTHAM HEALTH/Segundo Ruiz Belvis on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at the Immaculate Conception Church 389 E. 150th Street (Melrose Ave entrance), Bronx, NY 10455, from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm. All those wishing to attend should RSVP by September 14th, 2015. Contact, rodrigus6@nychhc.org (718) 960-2607 or VEGAM@nychhc.org (718) 579-4040.


REACH CHAMPS Steering Committee Meeting

The Bronx REACH CHAMPS steering committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 16, 2015, from 10 am - 12 pm. Bronx residents interested in joining the steering committee and helping improve the health of the Bronx are invited to attend. For more information contact Michael Hernández at reachchamps@bchnhealth.org .


Community Engagement Meeting

On Wednesday, August 12, 2015, BCHN held the first Community Engagement Meeting at the Bay Eden Senior Center. The event drew representatives from the Bronx REACH CHAMPS coalition partners, community organizations, health centers, Montefiore Medical Center, and the New York City Department of Health. Representatives from area legislators were also on hand to lend their support.

Attendees participated in community engaging conversation about health issues facing Bronx neighborhoods. Read more.
(In Photo L-R: Eleanor Larrier; Dr. Jane Bedell, Assistant Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; and Bobbi Hart, Executive Director, Bronx Health Link.)

Health Fair Field Day

BCHN's annual Health Fair Field Day took place at the Evander Childs Educational Campus on Tuesday, August 18. The fun-filled event focused on teaching children about the importance of physical activity and good eating habits. The children participated in relay races, obstacle courses, jump-rope, and Double Dutch. Read more.

(In photo: NYC Councilmember Andy King helped children get ready to run the obstacle course.)


This summer BCHN was privileged to work with four dynamic interns whose work greatly impacted BCHN as a whole, and helped shape REACH CHAMPS-related events.

Queenna Damour, Lehman College, MPH Candidate, Public Health, concentration in Community Health and Health Equity
During her summer internship with BCHN Queenna, who is working toward her master’s degree in public health, helped create and conduct surveys for the initiatives and activities under REACH, and got to “really understand how important the groundwork and the planning process is, especially the background work in understanding your target population,” she said. “For example, if you are trying to reach out to faith-based populations, you have to know the ethnicities, the cultures, as well as their meeting times, and understand their organizational structure.”

Queenna added that the experience she gained during this internship has helped direct her educational and career trajectory. “I came to the conclusion that I do not want to work in a clinical setting. I found that I really prefer the one-on-one interaction with the public. I think I would prefer work in health promotion, and getting people to understand the importance of health.”

“As an undergrad, I was taking classes such as pharmacology, learning about the medications and how they can take a toll on the body. Knowing a little about holistic health from my own life, I thought that food, proper nutrition, and exercise have a positive impact on the body– I didn’t want to go into a field where I would be pumping people with medication but rather go into the prevention side.”

Adjoa Gyimah, New York State University at Albany, Major: Psychology

Adjoa Gyimah is a Jill of all trades at BCHN. She began her second summer internship assisting the finance department prepare for the annual audit and capped off her summer by helping the organization prepare for events such as the 2015 Community Health Champions Recognition Dinner, the Annual Health Fair Field Day, and the various REACH CHAMPS events including the REACH CHAMPS program’s first community engagement meeting.

“I enjoyed my interactions with the community,” she said. “I am actually considering going into industrial organizational psychology, partially because of my experiences here.” Adjoa said she always knew she wanted to go into a medical-related field, and going in this direction would allow her to best leverage her interests to help people. “The projects under REACH CHAMPS are directly related to what I want to do because the programs emphasize the overall wellness of the communities, including mental health.”

Now that the summer has come to a close for her, she said her fondest memories will be the collaborative effort in helping put together events, including the finance audit. “I enjoyed working with the different departments and getting to see all the details that go into large events. I really feel that these skills and experiences will give me an advantage when I begin searching for jobs.”

Alexei Silva, Walden University, MPH Candidate, public health concentration
Alexei Silva has a way of getting people moving. He got the attendees at the 2015 Community Health Champions Recognition Dinner to move along and participate in the Nae Nae, and helped guide the children during the annual health fair field day through a series of physical activity events.

A physical education teacher for the Peekskill Central School District, Alexei is getting ready to begin his Capstone project for his master’s in public health. Aside from his work during events, he has been instrumental in developing aspects of the REACH project on worksite wellness. In fact, the toolkit which was presented to the BCHN staff on August 21, will be used with CBOs and FBOs to promote the adoption of worksite wellness policies. “The work that I have gotten to do here has been helpful for me because it is not only related to physical activity but also nutrition,” he said. “One of my goals when I complete my degree is to pursue an advanced degree in nutrition. I decided this because I want to transition into the wellness field, where both nutrition and physical fitness are key components.”

“While working at BCHN, I have had the opportunity to learn more about many of the health issues that affect the people in the Bronx, especially obesity in both adults and children,” he said. “And although there has been a big push to help tackle this issue, there is so much more that needs to be done. One of the biggest challenges that I have seen boils down to the lack of education about nutrition and physical activity…I believe the main approach to taking on this challenge is to personalize the issue and make a person realize the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and providing specific examples that they can relate to on different levels.”

John Thomas, City College of New York, Major: Biomedical Science
John Thomas, a biomedical science major at the City College of New York, who plans to become a doctor, said that as a result of his first summer internship with BCHN, he is now “flirting with the idea of going into community health and public health” as his focus within his major. “I really enjoyed working for all the events, working with kids, and going out with the community health workers,” he said. “I got to see all of those events come together and see how these impact the community… Getting the experience and seeing what happens, the work and the dedication, all of that really goes hand in hand. It’s what I hope to do in the future.”

Since his internship began in late May, John has helped with organizing programs and events for different programs within BCHN, including REACH CHAMPS events such as the community engagement meeting. “You get a real appreciation of how much work goes into organizing a program, and how much you have to cater to the community being served,” he said. “This was especially true when working for the REACH CHAMPS-related programs. I first began working on evaluations and assessments on different communities within the Bronx. Doing this kind of homework makes all the difference.”

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Social Media

Are you following us on Social Media? Here are some BCHN posts you may have missed:

@BCHNHealth Always your friend and partner! Keep up the great work. Congrats!
Vanessalgibson Replied To BCHNHealth Aug 14, 2015

Here with @BCHNHealth promoting fun, healthy habits here at my alma mater Evander Childs #not62 #bronx @NYCCouncil pic.twitter.com...
AndyKingNYC Sent Aug 18, 2015

Thanks @DrVSalcedo @HWCOM_Diversity @BCHNHealth for being top engaged community members this week :) (insight by commun.it)
LMSA_National Sent Aug 15, 2015

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