• Press Release

Mount Sinai Celebrates 20th Anniversary of East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership and a Legacy of Community Service

  • New York, NY
  • (May 01, 2024)

Twenty years ago today, the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership (EHHOP) at Mount Sinai opened its doors, creating a new model of community service and patient care. EHHOP, a free student-run, physician-supervised clinic, serves approximately 300 residents of East Harlem every year.

“EHHOP provides a critically needed safety net for a patient population that is uninsured and marginalized. When we opened our clinic, we welcomed our community who lived within blocks of our hospital; many had never set foot inside. Some of them had not seen a doctor in years,” says EHHOP co-founder Yasmin S. Meah, MD, who continues to serve as its Director today. Dr. Meah is a Professor of Medicine and Medical Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  

The clinic was co-founded by David C. Thomas, MD, MS, MHPE, Dean for Medical Education and Chair of the Department of Medical Education at Icahn Mount Sinai. Currently, it is co-led by several other faculty including Craig Katz, MD, Jacob Appel, MD, and Vicki Gluhoski, MD, of the Department of Psychiatry, in addition to Anjali Gupta, MD, MPH, and David S. Skovran, NP, of the Department of Medicine, and Ann S. Rauch, MSW, of the Department of Social Work.  

“The clinic emphasizes service, learning, and humanism, while providing students with the opportunity to provide direct patient care with guidance from onsite social workers and psychiatrists who guide our students in caring for a highly vulnerable population with multiple social stressors and mental health needs,” Dr. Meah says. “Students quickly learn how to leverage hospital and community resources in a medical care model that emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach.” She describes her students as “fierce advocates for those facing injustice and change-leaders who never accept the status quo.”

The clinic provides a rich training ground for medical students in their third year at Icahn Mount Sinai, who follow patients longitudinally, to afford continuity of care for patients over the course of one to two years, under the supervision of a fourth-year student and a faculty mentor. Martina Lopez May is a second-year student who serves as Co-Chair of the endeavor and a translator under a student-initiated Spanish-interpreter program. “The interpreter program is a cornerstone of our patient care, as we serve a population that is approximately 95 percent Spanish-speaking,” says Ms. Lopez May.  

“For me, as translator, to be present during patient encounters helps the patient develop a much stronger connection to the care provider,” she says. As an interpreter, Ms. Lopez May works with senior medical students such as Calla Khilnani, a fourth-year student who will graduate this year and go on to train as a resident in Internal Medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital.

Ms. Lopez May shares a recent email from a Spanish-speaking patient, who writes: “I am very grateful that they have helped me a lot here at EHHOP. It is an experience that I have never had before. They give you medicine, they give you everything, and they are kind.”

“Many of our patients are dealing with multiple chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, and they rely on prescription drugs to manage their conditions. So we work with them, and the Mount Sinai pharmacy, to make sure they have access to free medications,” says Ms. Khilnani. Student clinicians also ensure that patients get timely screenings, including colonoscopies and mammograms.

Icahn Mount Sinai students have also established several ancillary clinics within EHHOP to ensure streamlined continuity of care for patients. These specialty services, which run under the guidance of faculty members from many departments, include mental health, gynecology, ophthalmology, cardiology, and rehabilitation medicine.   

Since its inception on May 1, 2004, EHHOP faculty have worked with students to co-author numerous papers in leading academic journals where they explore health care topics relevant to the unique health care needs of the EHHOP patient population. Their published work has paid special attention to strategies for mitigating the chronic burden of stress among their patients,  developing strategies to support antidepressant adherence, controlling pharmaceutical costs, offering cognitive behavioral therapy for treating depression and anxiety, and facilitating onsite prescription dispensing.

“Drs. Meah and Thomas have developed a national model for providing free care to patients in medically underserved areas that also functions as an extremely effective training model for our students, who are making a difference in the lives of these patients and improving health in the communities we serve,” says Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of Icahn Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs of the Mount Sinai Health System.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties.

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