For young children, going to the doctor is often something they dread: Fears of needles and long waiting times doesn’t exactly go over well with children.

Fortunately, the new Health Care Choice (HCC) Community Health Center, located at 179 Jamaica Avenue is well aware of children’s aversion to doctor visits. On December 30, 2016, the HCC hosted its first ever Teddy Bear Clinic, a free event for parents and their children.

At the Teddy Bear Clinic, children are encouraged to bring along their own stuffed animals where onsite physician Dr. Marie Conde would examine them, give the teddy a vaccination and a clean bill of health. It’s a way for children to witness health care administration on the “lives” of that which they hold dear. To see their teddy bear survive the experience helps children– as their teddy’s caretaker– understand a doctor’s visit better; they see themselves as being cared for by their parents.

A happy patient of The Teddy Bear Clinic

For the whole staff at HCC, events like these become a way to connect more personally with both parents and children of the Brownsville community.

“It’s the Dream Team!” said HCC’s COO Debora Sorkin of her staff. For over a decade, HCC Community Health Center’s have served as a valuable and convenient resource to many neighborhoods in Brooklyn and other boroughs for underserved populations.

Dream Team! COO Deborah Sorkin, right, poses with Dr. Marie Conde, middle, and staff.

“If you call us up to schedule an appointment, you won’t need to wait for weeks to come see us. Often, we’ll tell you to come down on the same day,” Site Director Eva Suarez proudly claims. With their latest center opening this past July on Jamaica Avenue, the staff decided to to take more of a community-minded approach in announcing their arrival.

“People can sometimes be a bit turned off at the idea of going to a doctor,” Sorkin admits. “The medical office that was here before us was often slow and wasn’t always able to provide the residents here with the appropriate resources and referrals. Once people find out about us, however, they realize how convenient HCC can be for them.”

The center is equipped with physicians that serve both adult and child parents, with such extensive services such as podiatry. Plans for dental services are in the works. In addition, the center takes all insurance. And for those with little to no coverage, services are priced on a sliding scale.

As people begin to trickle in for their appointments, they have nothing but praise for their new HCC Community Health Center. Erika, a mother visiting for the first time, is glad for the convenience the center brings to the area.

Light refreshments and snacks at The Teddy Bear Clinic!

“I called two other doctor offices in the area, and they told me I needed to wait a month before they could see my son,” said one parent. “Here, I was able to to call and immediately make an appointment the same week.”

The HCC is planning to host an Easter egg event for children in April, complete with an Easter Bunny- stay tuned!

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Rafael Galarza

Brooklyn all day everyday. I love comic books, cartoons, rugby, and pizza. Always trying to make the world a better place a day at a time. Superman's #1 Fan.

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