Superstorm Sandy damaged more than homes and businesses when it hit the East coast in 2012. It also devastated access to local health care on the Rockaway Peninsula, a narrow strip of land bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay in Queens County, New York City.
St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, NY, a 257-bed teaching hospital, is the last functioning medical care center on the peninsula. Jonathan E. Eckstein, DO, director of the hospital’s family medicine residency program, understands the unique challenges his patients face living in an area where 65% are from a minority group, 30% are over 65 and a majority are living below the Federal Poverty Level. In fact, 65% of the residents are overweight or obese and the death rate for heart disease is significantly higher than the surrounding area.
With the $5,000 Caring for Communities Award, Dr. Eckstein plans to undertake a project with his 34 residents and faculty to improve health outcomes for area seniors. The project includes health education, regular blood pressure screenings and ongoing monitoring to identify the effects of the education program at community and faith-based centers.
The program also will provide opportunities for socialization for area seniors, who often are isolated, in poor health, with few financial resources. Residents and interns will be able to broaden and deepen their knowledge of healthy aging through a population health perspective, while supporting seniors in their ability to learn about and improve their health outcomes.
Dr. Eckstein received his DO degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) in 1998 and teaches at many colleges of osteopathic medicine, including Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM- Erie) in Lake Erie, PA and Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) in Harlem, NY and Vallejo, CA.
The AOF is proud to present the Caring for Communities Award to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and Jonathan E. Eckstein, DO, for their extraordinary humanitarian work in the Rockaway Peninsula providing compassionate medical care that will make a lasting difference in the community.