ne woman with breast cancer, two pregnant women and a handful of individuals with
undiagnosed asthma were identified by members of Winthrop's Diga Si A La Buena Salud
initiative ("Say Yes to Good Health") outside the Stop and Shop supermarket in Hempstead on a Saturday morning this past fall. The team set up camp in the Winthrop-University Hospital Winnebago to dispense information
on healthcare services available to a growing population
of underserved and uninsured in Nassau County. These
individuals are just a small fraction of an ever-growing Hispanic population that lack access to or knowledge about affordable and quality healthcare.
Just ask Deborah Johnson, Vice President of Administration at Winthrop, who has been spearheading the project since its inception in 2002, just how valuable the initiative's programs and services have been to the Hispanic community.
"There is a rapidly growing need for healthcare within the minority population in Nassau County. With the help of many wonderful
community organizations, Winthrop has taken the lead in navigating this community through the healthcare system," she explained. "The Hispanic population is the fastest growing
community in Nassau County and they are at risk for hypertension, diabetes and lack of
prenatal care. Over the past year, the County's medically underserved have found Winthrop to be a place where they are truly welcomed."
The Diga Si initiative at Winthrop was
officially launched at last year's Health Fair, which brought close to 500 members of the Hispanic community to the Hospital for free health screenings and a wealth of information
on topics such as women and children's health, infection control and health insurance assistance.
In addition to the health fair, the first year of the initiative included a number of community-based programs with a focus on women and children's health.
"We found it very necessary to help connect pregnant women with proper prenatal care as well as provide children with access to healthcare through county and state-wide programs," added Ms. Johnson.
To achieve these goals, Winthrop developed initiatives such as 'From Our Home to Yours' for pregnant mothers at risk for not receiving prenatal care, and 'Mothers Helping Mothers' where experienced Hispanic women mentor new mothers on responsibilities of childcare and health. Ms. Johnson went on to explain that halfway through the creation of these outreach programs, it became apparent that fathers-to-be and new dads were also eager to learn, thus Winthrop created the program 'Boot Camp for New Dads.'
"The men were finding that in this country, fathers play a much larger role in the care of their families," explained Ms. Johnson. "The Boot Camp program provided these men with the practical knowledge and fathering skills they would need including diapering and feeding their babies and supporting their wives throughout pregnancy. They are very family-oriented and it was very encouraging to us to see this interest."
Over the past year, Winthrop has developed some wonderful relationships with a number of organizations that serve the Hispanic community including Circulo de
la Hispanidad, the Bread of Life Church in Hempstead, the Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association and CASA, further helping the Hospital in its efforts. In fact, because of the great strides Winthrop has made in its outreach programs, Circulo de la Hispanidad will be honoring Winthrop during its annual 2003 spring gala in May.
Diga Si En 2003
Diga Si en 2003 was officially kicked-off at a breakfast on Monday, March 10th. The Winthrop team was joined by organizations including Circulo De La Hispanidad, Hoy,
The Bread of Life Church, the Department of Health, and
the Girl Scouts of Nassau County.|
If the first year of the Diga Si initiative proved to Winthrop's team that the needs within the Hispanic community were enormous, the beginning of the second year has already demonstrated that these needs will be just as monumental. The program's goals for 2003 are to continue to expand the outreach with offsite screenings and health fairs and educational lectures at community churches and Hispanic organizations. In addition, the initiative will also continue to help identify available, affordable health care.
This year, Winthrop's Diga Si initiative is also turning its focus internally, instituting a series of Spanish language classes for healthcare providers to enhance communication with Spanish speaking patients. Bi-lingual patient navigators have also been added in the Welcome Center to act
as patient advocates, answering their questions, helping them with access to health services and following-up with them to make sure their needs are met. Winthrop has also teamed up with United Healthcare to institute weekly, onsite enrollment for health insurance - a valuable
opportunity that is open to the public.
"We feel very strongly about helping those in need overcome the barriers to healthcare by assisting them in finding the resources they require," stated Ms. Johnson. "Our goal is to make the Hispanic community feel like Winthrop has become a part of their family by welcoming them into ours."
For more information on Diga Si en 2003 or any of the services provided at Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP.