As COVID Spikes, Schools From Harlem To Hollis To Be Tested By Diverse Community Doctors

Today, SOMOS, a network of over 2,500 doctors serving nearly 800,000 largely immigrant New Yorkers – announced that it will offer on-site COVID-19 testing for an initial 300 schools in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan.

The network, which already serves over 200,000 students in the New York City public school system, will conduct testing and screening on-site and through mobile testing units in the hardest-hit communities across the city. This effort brings culturally-competent comfort and information to communities, especially to Latino, Asian and Black families and teachers who will now be tested in their own languages by their own community doctors.

SOMOS will initially reach over 15,000 students per month at over 200 buildings.

Since the pandemic outbreak, SOMOS has been at the forefront of providing testing for NYC’s primarily low-income communities of color and those in vulnerable areas around the country. Based on this leadership and trusted authority, SOMOS Chairman Dr. Ramon Tallaj has been appointed to help lead the New York state COVID-19 task force created by Governor Andrew Cuomo – and will be the subject of a documentary in the first-ever Momento Latino program airing on CBS on October 26th, 2020 that will spotlight health care in the Latino community and focus on SOMOS testing, treating and feeding the community at the height of the first wave of the pandemic this spring. SOMOS will initially reach over 15,000 students per month at over 200 buildings.

“We have treated so many of these kids since birth – this is about family doctors bringing a proven national model to students and teachers, in their own languages,” said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Chairman and Founder of SOMOS.

“As doctors who have served NYC’s hardest-hit communities since the outbreak of the pandemic and stepped up around the country, we have witnessed the devastating impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. Absent a vaccine, one of the most effective measures to slow the spread of the virus is through rapid, reliable, and robust testing programs in the most vulnerable communities in our city.”

“Our network of community doctors welcomes this partnership because it allows us to continue to protect our most vulnerable community members as we have from the outset of the pandemic. We are committed to sharing our expertise in treating and caring for unique communities in their own language and hope the city will continue to leverage the voices of our community doctors as we continue to fight this deadly virus for as long as we are needed.”

“SOMOS’s doctors and medical professionals bring a wealth of community knowledge and resources to this important work. This is a logical extension of the care and support they have given New York City children and families during the pandemic,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.


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I am incredibly thankful to SOMOS Community Care for bringing its widely acclaimed national COVID-19 testing model to schools in The Bronx and Upper Manhattan, which have been hard hit by the pandemic.

“I am incredibly thankful to SOMOS Community Care for bringing its widely acclaimed national COVID-19 testing model to schools in The Bronx and Upper Manhattan, which have been hard hit by the pandemic. Since a robust and reliable testing program is a key step in adequately fighting this virus and safely reopening our schools, this culturally competent, community-first effort implemented by SOMOS will make a real impact on the health outcomes in some of our City’s most vulnerable communities,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee.

“COVID-19 affects New Yorkers of all ages,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried. “SOMOS is doing important work ensuring culturally competent testing access in communities of color across the City, and I urge all New Yorkers to get tested.”

“Throughout this pandemic lack of access to testing in low-income communities has been a major driver of inequality. SOMOS has helped close this gap through its community-based, culturally competent providers,” said New York City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine.

“Throughout this pandemic lack of access to testing in low-income communities has been a major driver of inequality. SOMOS has helped close this gap through its community-based, culturally competent providers,” said New York City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine. “This new partnership to expand testing in schools will mobilize community doctors in the SOMOS network to further close the resource gap. At a time when COVID-19 cases are rising across New York City, with cold weather ahead, this work is more important than ever.”

Currently, pediatricians in the SOMOS network provide health care to an estimated 80 percent of the school children in NYC’s District 6 public school system in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, and over 200,000 public school kids across the entire system.

Currently, pediatricians in the SOMOS network provide health care to an estimated 80 percent of the school children in NYC’s District 6 public school system in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, and over 200,000 public school kids across the entire system. These doctors are uniquely equipped to handle the task of administering tests to the largest, most diverse school district in the country through culturally-competent health care delivery, as they have for hundreds of thousands of NYC’s immigrant and minority populations.

SOMOS was the first to offer antibody testing in New York City and established a trilingual informational hotline to educate non-English speaking residents; the network also gave out over 2 million meals to New York City’s vulnerable community members dealing with the financial impacts from COVID-19.

SOMOS was the first to offer antibody testing in New York City and established a trilingual informational hotline to educate non-English speaking residents; the network also gave out over 2 million meals to New York City’s vulnerable community members dealing with the financial impacts from COVID-19. During the summer, physicians in the network, at the request of Governor Andrew Cuomo and local mayors and health officials, were deployed to the hardest-hit Sun Belt states to help increase access to testing in vulnerable immigrant communities, delivering what has become a national health care model.

SOMOS is a non-profit, physician-led network of over 2,500 health care providers serving over 700,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in New York City.

SOMOS is a non-profit, physician-led network of over 2,500 health care providers serving over 700,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in New York City. Launched in 2015 by its Chairman Dr. Ramon Tallaj, SOMOS is the largest and only physician-led performance provider system participating in the New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (DSRIP). The SOMOS network includes providers delivering culturally competent care to patients in some of New York City’s most vulnerable populations, particularly Latino, Asian, African-American and immigrant communities throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

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