Open Door Brings Covid-19 Outreach Into Local Communities

Open Door COVID-19 Outreach Specialist John Rodriguez

Open Door brings Covid-19 outreach into local communities, providing information and access to resources.

To date, Open Door has provided vaccinations to close to 27,900 individuals. However, vaccine hesitancy continues to persist throughout Open Door communities and Open Door is responding. For many of our families, Open Door is the first and only line of health defense before hospital emergency rooms.

Throughout the pandemic, Open Door has quickly responded to the needs of the community, offering testing beginning early in 2020 and making all three vaccinations available at Open Door. Open Door was one of the first Federally Qualified Health Centers to participate in the federal COVID-19 vaccination program. To address concerns expressed by some patients, Open Door has developed the COVID-19 Outreach Program, funded by the Westchester County Department of Health, Phelps Hospital, and CHCANYS. Through this program, Open Door aims to outreach to educate and link eligible, harder to reach, vulnerable individuals to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Every week, Open Door COVID-19 Outreach Specialist John Rodriguez visits businesses throughout Westchester, such as local nail salons, barbershops, grocery stores, and the Ossining Town Hall. John answers questions, provides education, and addresses misinformation about COVID-19 to everyone he encounters. “I spoke with two brothers from Ecuador who work as day laborers in Ossining. After speaking with them for 15 minutes, one brother decided to get vaccinated. I brought him to Open Door, helped him register, and he got vaccinated immediately,” John recalled.

In addition to speaking with people on an individual basis and attending community events, John also gives educational presentations to partner organizations whose audiences include both clients and staff members. Recently, the YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester hosted “COVID-19 and Vaccination Info Sessions” where John presented. Additionally, attendees had their questions answered by Dr. Leanne Forman who is Program Director of Internal Medicine Residency Program at Westchester Medical Center. These residents receive training at Open Door.

“As a community health center, we feel fortunate to have the opportunity to make sure that the individuals who are at highest exposure and risk for COVID-19 have the information and access to get vaccinated,” said Open Door Marketing Director Grace Battaglia. “John’s role is very important to our communities because patients can get their questions answered by someone who is a trusted member of the community. John added, “With so much changing on a regular basis, people need someone they trust to provide them with accurate, up to date, and dependable information. I want to spread the word that the COVID-19 vaccine can save lives.”

About Open Door Family Medical Center and Foundation
Open Door Family Medical Center provides health care and wellness programs to individuals and families in need throughout Westchester, Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster Counties. A pioneer Federally Qualified Health Center, Open Door provides more than 300,000 patient visits annually and serves 63,000 individual patients who might not otherwise have access. Open Door offers integrated services and a holistic approach to building healthier communities. Primary medical care, dental care, integrated behavioral health care, clinical nutrition, wellness programs, and chronic disease management are the foundation of its clinical programs. Founded as a free clinic in 1972, Open Door’s mission of building healthier communities through accessible, equitable, culturally competent health care has led to site and service expansions. Today, Open Door operates centers in Brewster, Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, Ossining, Port Chester, and Sleepy Hollow, in addition to nine School-Based Health Centers in the Port Chester, Webutuck, and Ossining School Districts, a mobile dental van in Mount Kisco, and a dental practice in Saugerties, NY. Open Door is accredited by the Joint Commission and is recognized by the National Committee on Quality Assurance as a Patient-Centered Medical Home. Open Door achieves clinical results that consistently surpass national benchmarks for patient outcomes. For additional information, please contact Elisabeth Gilbert, Senior Director of Development, at 914-502-1417.

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