2013-08-16 / Top Stories

Free Healthcare Clinic To Open In Rockaway

By Katie McFadden

Doctors of the World USA will be providing free health care access from a clinic in Rockaway Park. The organization, which has offered services around the community since Hurricane Sandy hit, recently leased a property at 2-30 Beach 102nd Street, which will become a health clinic sometime in the next few months.

The nonprofit organization signed the lease at the end of July. This would be the first domestic project and flagship presence for Doctors of the World USA in the country. The clinic will offer primary medical services by experienced medical professionals to the community free of charge. It will be open three days a week, with hours that will accommodate working adults and families.

“The Doctors of the World Rockaways Free Clinic is about more than helping the community recover from Sandy,” Henry E. Chang, Executive Director of Doctors of the World USA said. “It’s about ensuring that communities like this one are prepared for eventualities of all kinds, from personal health crises to major disasters.”

Doctors of the World was in Rockaway within a few days after Hurricane Sandy, providing emergency health care to residents. They have been providing home visits ever since, but now they are looking to make a more permanent move by opening a clinic.

“Doctors of the World’s policy looks toward longer term solutions to problems, not just emergency care,” Noah Barth, Doctors of the World Program Coordinator said. “In the course of the work after the storm, it became clear that there was a long-term need and long-term desire for it.”

The move towards a permanent clinic is being done as there is a lack of healthcare services on the peninsula, with St. John’s Episcopal Hospital being the only remaining hospital in the community. “Residents have expressed a need for services. In general, Rockaway has such a shortage of healthcare services available,” Barth said.

The clinic will be free and will particularly target those who lack medical insurance, including the undocumented population. “Doctors of the World believes strongly in the principle that healthcare is a fundamental right,” Barth said.

The organization is looking for volunteers and they are recruiting pediatricians and psychiatrists in particular. Those interested in becoming a volunteer can visit www.doctorsoftheworld.org or email help@doctorsofthe world.org

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