People were literally “dancing in the streets” this past Saturday, May 16, at the Mobile Health Fair on 115th Street in East Harlem. Brightpoint Health’s brand new dental clinic on wheels made its premiere at the fair joined by seven other mobile health centers from participating health organizations.
Fair goers were able to take advantage of numerous health screenings available at no cost including mammograms, HIV, glucose testing and blood pressure checks. But it was hardly all serious business. The fair also featured face painting, balloons and clowns to entertain the youngsters, as well as a DJ playing music for all ages.
The purpose of the event was to build awareness of mobile health clinics and the vital role they play in improving health care accessibility for low income communities. By offering preventive care and chronic disease management services in neighborhoods, mobile clinics also reduce the need for emergency room visits which are uncomfortable for patients and costly for the health care system. In his remarks at the fair, Paul Vitale, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brightpoint Health, urged the crowd to undergo all the screenings available there and spread the word about mobile health clinics. “These clinics are here to serve you and your community,” Vitale said, “no matter who you are, nothing is more important than your health.” He also spoke about the Brightpoint mobile dental clinic, which will serve adult and pediatric patients, telling kids that “Dr. Fred,” referring to Brightpoint’s Vice President of Dental Care Dr. Fredric Lee, is a “fun dentist” that they shouldn’t to be afraid to visit. Dr. Lee was on hand to welcome visitors to Brightpoint’s new mobile clinic, a fully equipped two-chair dental office.
Other speakers at the mobile health fair included Dr. Anthony Vavasis, Director of Medicine at the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, Alison Jordan, Executive Director, Transitional Health Care Coordination, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Edwidge Menard, Deputy Director of the New York City Commission of Human Rights. All of the speakers emphasized that health care is a basic right that should be available to all and that mobile health clinics help to make that right a reality for all New Yorkers.
The Mobile Health Fair was sponsored by the New York City Coalition of Mobile Health Clinics Association (MHCA) which is comprised of the nonprofit organizations Brightpoint Health, Community Health Care Network, Harlem United, New Alternatives for Children, Lower East Side Service Center, Child Mind Institute, William F Ryan Community Health Network, Project Renewal, Housing Works, Urban Health Plan, Care for the Homeless, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, Morris Heights Health Center, Children’s Health Fund and the Italian-American Cancer Foundation. Phillip Gray, Vice President of Business Development at Brightpoint Health, serves as Chairman of the coalition.
A special thanks to Phil Gray, Margaret Monahan and the entire Business Development team for their hard work in making the fair possible and fun for all. And to Yolanda Finley for keeping the world up-to-date on what was happening with live tweeting, photos and Facebook posts.