Teachers, Doctors Unite To Test Kids, Reassure Parents As Schools Reopen From Harlem To Hollis

December 14, 2020

This week, as schools partially reopened for Pre-K through Grade Six despite recent closures, comm

unity pediatricians and family medicine practitioners who are testing students and teachers in over 400 New York City public schools strengthened their partnership with the UFT and teachers across the city to reassure families and stress a message of safety and calm.

Doctors and educators have trusted authorities in diverse communities across the city and spoke with one voice directly to parents in English, Spanish, and Chinese on the morning schools partially reopened as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic rises in New York.

Doctors discussed their citywide testing program and how it will keep communities and families safer, and credited Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Carranza, Governor Cuomo, and UFT President Michael Mulgrew for their support of community doctors in this critical, make-or-break testing effort.

Doctors also discussed the upcoming vaccination phase of the pandemic response, stressing that diverse family doctors must be a cornerstone of vaccination implementation and disbursement to be sure that lower-income communities of color are reached.

“We are here to speak directly to parents: we know you are worried,” said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Chairman of SOMOS Community Care, the city’s largest physician-led network, whose 2,500 providers treat over 800,000 New Yorkers, and who ran over 60 trilingual testing sites in NYC and in the Sun Belt during the first wave of the pandemic. “And we are here as trusted authorities to share insight and take you through the testing, treating and communication process that we are leading together to be sure that kids, families, and teachers are safe. Each day we’ll be testing your kids and their teachers and communicating directly to you in your language. Because a safe school means a safe city.”

“We appreciate the work SOMOS is doing to keep our students, staff, and all our families safe. SOMOS’ doctors and health care workers are known in our communities and so are a natural partner to provide testing in our schools,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.

SOMOS and SOMOS US form the foundation of an innovative, value-based care network of over 2,500 diverse physicians and health care providers serving nearly 1 million people in New York City.

SOMOS has created a new model of quality healthcare on behalf of the most underserved communities of the United States, a model based on cultural competency, increased access, and the ability of community-based medicine to successfully address the social determinants of health.

SOMOS is the shared vision of Dr. Ramon Tallaj and Henry R. Muñoz, III, a doctor, and a designer, working together to create institutional change.

This year, SOMOS doctors and healthcare workers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis since our Latino and Asian doctors working in the neighborhoods of New York saw the escalating illness and mortality rates in the inner city.

SOMOS established over 60 trilingual testing sites, in New York, Florida, Texas, and Georgia, and is providing treatment, health education, and millions of meals to those who need to care the most.

SOMOS commissioned the first national polling data on the impact of this pandemic on the health, economic, and educational wellbeing of the Latino and Chinese Communities in the United States.

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