Dear Team:

            It is said that social work is “the art of listening and the science of hope.” It is a profession wholly committed to improving lives. Whether it is an art, a science, or both, there is magic in the air when a social worker is around.

            This is the month when the National Association of Social Workers celebrates the contributions of social workers across the country. It is the month when Community Healthcare Network reiterates its thanks to our colleagues who, as social workers, make a difference, each day, in the lives of our patients. We recognize that it is social work that allows CHN to succeed in our mission: to bring improved health outcomes and happier lives to our many patients — underserved people who need a break. 

            Social workers are the glue to 21st Century healthcare, as they have been the glue since the late 19th/early 20th Century settlement house movements. Without social work, the best of medical providers will fall short in meeting the needs of their individual patients. CHN would fall short in our efforts to improve population health. Social work is the glue of CHN, and the fundamental bridge in making modern healthcare systems succeed.

       At each CHN Health Center, social workers meet patients with professionalism, compassion, and without judgment. Health center social workers are joined by Licensed Clinical Social Workers, a/k/a therapists, who deliver behavioral healthcare in partnership with our medical and psychiatric providers.

          In our health centers, and in the field, social work is key to our Health Homes program.  Social work, and the care coordinators and navigators who work in that space, are indispensable in connecting the dots to the coordination of care for our patients and clients.

Social workers are at the core of CHN’s integrated care. Thanks to all CHN Social Workers. They raise all of us up, not just in the month of March, but every day of the year. 

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            While we are applauding, let’s add one more round for CHN’s Dental Assistants. Who knew, but the first week of March also marks Dental Assistants Recognition Week. It has been that way since 1978. 

            At CHN, dentistry is a small but vital part of our healthcare delivery. I wish we could have dental services at each of our health centers, and more dental chairs where we now have dentistry. One day we will.  Space is always the challenge, yet our communities and patients badly need additional access to dentistry.

            Later this year, when our newly constructed East New York Health Center opens, we will have three additional dental chairs. We are adding a new dental chair in Harlem. And we plan to have dentistry in each of our new health centers now in the developmental pipeline – Jamaica, Sutphin Boulevard, the Lower Eastside, and Tremont.

            CHN’s commitment to our patients means a firm commitment to our dental practice. And that means a firm commitment to our terrific Dental Assistants. Thanks to our Dental Assistants, Sherida Baksh, Dariani Del Rosario, Monica Martinez, Luz Alzate, McNeil Gustave, Sekena Rumnit, and Ming Xia Fan. Our Dentists are great. You make them greater.

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            We may soon be talking coronavirus 24/7: it is posing a formidable global challenge, and we at CHN have a critical role to play. Our entire team – clinical, operational, facilities and everyone in between — is on full alert to keep everyone safe. 

            The spread of the virus remains uncertain, and our leadership is constantly monitoring the best evidence in fighting the spread of the infection. We are leaning on the Centers for Disease Control and the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the latest and best advice.  

            Our workflows and communications on the coronavirus are up on our portal. Please review it carefully, and recognize we are fighting a rapidly moving target. The portal will be updated at least daily.  You know where to find it, check in, and check in again. 

            We will approach the coronavirus as professionals, we will remain calm, relying on the best evidence, serving our communities to the best extent possible, and keeping your safety CHN’s number one priority. 

             – Best, Bob