One Brooklyn Health stages its annual health fair

Patrons at the Brookdale Health Fair signing up for health activities.
Patrons at the Brookdale Health Fair signing up for health activities.
Photo by Dawn Plummer

Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023 saw nothing short of information on both mental and physical health related issues at the annual One Brooklyn Health Fair sponsored by Brookdale Hospital Center in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Hundreds of community residents walked along the hospital on Rockaway Parkway and questioned the medical professionals on site who came out to inform residents of the need to stay healthy and maintain good health. The exuberant event could be considered as one of a kind. All areas of health were covered with reading materials available to help patrons who had questions about specific issues on health. The health fair also introduced to the community some of the changes that are now taking place in medical science and that some of these changes are available at Brookdale Hospital Center right in the community.

The event was an elaborate one decorated with many stalls and tents from across New York City and the New York State Department of Health. The objective of a health fair is to take the information as close to the community as possible and this was indeed the situation. Not only were health agencies on site to disseminate their information, but several health insurance companies were also present to register residents who are still without medical insurance.

Areas of health that were significantly highlighted and addressed were women’s health, mental health, gun violence, medical and life insurance companies, food, and nutrition with a professional dietitian explaining the importance of the nutrients and dietary substances; Baby Friendly Breast-Feeding Program, a nationally recognized program with only 28 percent of the country’s hospitals involved and Brookdale Hospital being one of them. This program promotes breast feeding as an essential food for the newborn. In addition, information was accessible for new moms on the hospital’s infant feeding support program. A newborn screening program is a program implemented by New York State Department of Health to ensure that babies diagnosed after birth are not at risk for any serious illnesses, and if there are any early diagnosis treatment is available and that early detection of diseases are treatable.

The donor breast milk, another aspect of the Brookdale Hospital Center health care, is managed by Consultant Ashley Orenshteyn, a registered nurse from the International Board.

The fair provided information on certified lactation to mothers who may be struggling with breast feeding whose milk volume is low. The Donor Breast Milk will be milk coming from other mothers who have surplus breast milk and are willing to donate to babies who need milk. These medical professionals promoted the usage of the donor breast milk as a benefit to the most vulnerable infants such as pre-term infants in the NeonataI Intensive Care Unit (NICU) who cannot tolerate formula. Both mother and donated breast milk undergo intensive testing and the residents attending were reminded of this.

One Brooklyn Health did not omit the critical issue of mental health that is affecting the community and information was provided by mental health agencies including the NY State Department of Health explaining how accessible the programs are for the area residents to become aware of and utilize, at Brookdale Hospital. The efforts were made through the event to expose patients to what they think they need or what they wanted relating to mental health and the situations that affect their mental state.

One Brooklyn Health fair was also on hand to let the residents see the need for healthy eating. The local East New York Farms, a community-run farmers market, promotes natural growing produce with affordable prices. At the event, they distributed their flyers explaining the need to have access to local sustainable agriculture. This market runs from June to October, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. every Saturday, at the UCC Youth Farm, 620 Schenck Ave. in East New York, Brooklyn.

Brookdale Hospital Center did not overlook the grave issue of gun violence in the community. Thus, Elite Leaners Inc., another of the hospital’s effort, working with Brookdale University Hospital Center is also available to provide mental health relief during the time of trauma and chronic stress. The program aims to work closely with the trauma unit in attempts to reduce retaliatory violence. It aims to encourage victims to involve themselves in stopping the cycle of violence. The hospital responders are trained to provide meditation to juveniles and young adults involved in conflicts, especially gun violence.

In bringing this awareness of maintaining good health to the community, Brookdale also included the importance of non-related health, but public service agencies that are also crucial for the community’s development. Some of these agencies were the Civilian Complaint Review Board, this was one such agency reminding people of its service to the public; The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) registering new members as well as passing on valuable information to the residents who were inquiring about their work, as well as the Brooklyn Public Library.  “These agencies are meaningful to the community,” Angela McKnight, a resident mentioned, “Some of us do not remember their roles and that they are there for us, so it is good to have them coming to the community,” Ms. McKnight commented.

The seniors were able to obtain information specifically on transportation and learnt of the 511NYRideshare, a program sponsored and operated by the New State Department of Transportation. This program matches passengers and updates travel information during times of emergencies. They are available for people ages 65 and over and seniors can obtain further information at [email protected].