The program grew over the decades with a focus on health literacy, along with detecting and preventing chronic disease, explains Chui Man Lai, community affairs manager at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital.
“We’re aware of the cultural sensitivities, and it’s important for us to instill the values of multigenerational care within families,” Lai says. “We want to reach not only the elderly, but people who are taking care of young children and those who may be caregivers for their parents, so everyone has a better quality of life.”
As a pediatrician, Dr. Poon helped lead the charge in hosting vision and hearing screenings at local elementary schools, which continue to this day.
“Dr. Poon never gave up in helping fill the needs that he saw,” Lai says. “He was always willing to go the extra mile for the neighborhood.”
The landscape of Lower Manhattan was altered after the September 11 attacks, and many Chinese workers and families left Manhattan’s Chinatown as the economic climate led to shutdowns of garment factories, restaurants, and neighborhood businesses, Dr. Poon says.
As a result, CCPH extended offerings to other major Chinese communities in Sunset Park and Flushing, while continuing to serve the Lower Manhattan community, expanding their educational talks, vaccinations and screenings for blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol. The team also developed a Lung Disease Prevention Program to combat tobacco use, including classes for food industry workers.
“In our communities, we still have a lot of underserved populations, some of whom don’t have legal status,” Lai says. “For those who have insurance, they may not know how to utilize it. We provide support, guidance, and people really depend on us to navigate the health system.”
As the neighborhoods and populations changed, the CCPH team saw attendance grow, they say, along with a willingness in attendees to make health part of their everyday lives.
“Their Preventive Type 2 Diabetes program helped me be more mindful of my daily diet and the importance of exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” says Yat Lung Li, a participant in one of the many CCPH initiatives.