Ribbon cutting at old town hall
You could call it a love-health-fest.
Northwell Health’s official ribbon cutting Monday night at Old Town Hall in Patchogue was a goodwill gathering with a tent, sushi and facility tours with at least 100 guests celebrating its arrival.
Inside, Dr. Richard Braunstein, Northwell’s director of ophthalmology, explained one of the facility’s latest diagnostic bells and whistles. “We offer optical coherence technology for retinal analysis,” he said of one of the cutting-edge imaging tests, a noninvasive procedure that uses light waves to take cross-section pictures of the retina. He introduced Dr. Matthew Gorski, a cornea and cataract specialist who trained at Manhattan Eye and Ear, where Braunstein practices; Gorski is one of the 11 physicians at the Patchogue facility.
While specialty services covering cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonary, nephrology, rheumatology and ophthalmology are its main mission, Northwell Health community relations manager Matthew DePace was asked about addressing Hispanic needs. “We will be doing something here,” he said, adding that Northwell Health has contributed more than $1 billion towards community benefits, including community programs.
“In a lot of other communities, we do free blood pressure testing and diabetes screening. We also work with Adelante,” said DePace. (Adelante of Suffolk County Inc. works to inspire forward movement with diverse people.)
Adelante of Suffolk County director Olga El Sehamy and coordinator of administrative services Maria Carvajal had just come from the Patchogue-Medford Library, where they met with coordinator of Spanish language outreach Jean Kaleda.
“We’ve offered services in Brentwood, Central Islip and North Bay Shore,” said El Sehamy. “So this year we partnered with the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce. We brought our college preparatory program for Latinos and minorities for high school students to be given there.”
Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy said Adelante would begin services in their offices in September, on Fridays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., for students interested in help on college applications. But, he said, Northwell Health has been a chamber member for many years. Before, when it was just North Shore-Long Island Jewish. “It’s incredibly unique and we’re blessed Patchogue is where they put their new facility. And the people who work there and those they bring in have a place in downtown to eat and shop.”
El Sehamy confirmed their work with Northwell Health over the years. “We can bring nutrition education, cardio care workshops, stroke prevention, and diabetes prevention and management to the community,” she said.
All the critical players in the culmination of the building’s renaissance were present, including John and Marguerite DeLollis, one of the landlords. “They didn’t present us with [many] restrictions,” said John DeLollis. “They wanted the Brookhaven Town Hall sign to stay and to preserve the phone booth and the copper beech tree.”
John Caffrey, the frontman and DeLollis’s partner, expressed relief that its completion and celebration was finally here. “It’s been going on for four years, but it’s done,” he said.
Northwell Health president and CEO Michael J. Dowling welcomed Legis. Rob Calarco and gave special thanks to Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine and Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri “for all the work you’ve done to transform this community,” he said. “I love history and to walk into a building from 1926 with WPA additions, and to walk in the back and see the phenomenal staircase … Today we are so delighted to have it be the centerpiece for healthcare.”
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