On Wednesday, April 18th, Memorial Hospital unveiled its new immunization van, thanks to the generous support provided by New York City Health and Hospitals employees and Pfizer, Inc. In December 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, the employees of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (NYCHHC) made the decision to fund mobile medical vans. The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country, is a $4.9 billion public benefit corporation that serves 1.3 million New Yorkers every year and nearly 400,000 who are uninsured. NYCHHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based health centers.
When Pfizer, Inc. heard that NYCHHC employees had contributed over $173,000 to aid their colleagues at public hospitals in hurricane-stricken Mississippi and Louisiana, the company agreed to match every dollar raised with two more. Together, they donated a total contribution of approximately $500,000 to Louisiana State University- Health Care Services of New Orleans and Memorial Hospital at Gulfport. Memorial received $250,000 of these monies.
In 1994, the original 32-foot mobile unit was purchased with the help of the Healthier Community Alliance (HCA), Inc. HCA, Inc. was formed with the support of Memorial Hospital Foundation, Hancock Bank, the Mississippi State Department of Health, and the MHG Auxiliary. For the past 13 years, the HCA van has provided free childhood immunizations, adult screenings and general health information at various locations in Harrison County.
“Memorial Hospital is grateful to our friends at NYCHHC and Pfizer for this gift. We also want to recognize the Memorial Auxiliary and our local partners, Hancock Bank and the Health Department for their many years of support to the operations of this van. This new immunization van will continue to bring much needed preventative services to all parts of our community,” said Gary Marchand, Memorial President and CEO.
NYCHHC President Alan D. Aviles said,“I salute the staunch performance of our colleagues at Memorial Hospital. As one of the foremost safety-net public hospitals on the Gulf Coast, they have served the needs of this community for more than 60 years and have never yielded to the storm. New York City’s public hospital system shares a mission with Memorial that begins with the commitment to deliver healthcare with excellence to all. We all know well that frontline medicine – whether in the Bronx or the Gulf — has a great deal to do with the kind of solutions that the Memorial Immunization Van represents. It is often said that no one on earth handles crisis like New Yorkers. But from the days of deluge to the months of seemingly hopeless aftermath to the slow rebuilding and the restoration of faith, Gulfport’s leaders, residents and our friends and colleagues here at Memorial have demonstrated extraordinary and inspiring heroism, determination, and resilience. NYCHHC is proud to be part of your efforts to go the distance for a healthier community.”
The new Memorial Immunization Van will be offering free immunizations on Monday, April 23 at K-Mart, located on Pass Road in Gulfport beginning at 7:30 a.m.
If you would like more information, you may call (228) 867-4246 or visit our website at www.gulfportmemorial.com.
For more information about NYCHHC, visit www.nyc.gov/hhc. For more information about Pfizer, visit www.pfizer.com.