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Press Releases

Gilead Foundation Donates $300,000 to Holy Name Medical Center's Korean Medical Program

Date: 4/28/2014

Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) make up less than 5% of the total population in the United States, but account for more than 50% of Americans living with chronic hepatitis B, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite these high rates, many APIs are not tested for hepatitis B. They are unaware of their infection and many recent immigrants do not have access to medical services that can help save lives. As a result, chronic hepatitis B and associated liver cancer in APIs is one of the most serious health disparities in the United States.

Over the past five years, the Korean Medical Program (KMP) of Holy Name Medical Center has partnered with the Gilead Foundation to improve the well-being of underserved communities, expanding access to hepatitis education outreach, prevention and health services. To date, the KMP has received a total of $300,000 in grants from the Gilead Foundation which has helped to underwrite costs associated with the KMP's medical and community outreach programs.

The KMP's mission is to provide the Korean-American population in the New York/New Jersey metro area with culturally and linguistically-sensitive medical care and customer service, and to raise awareness of the importance of prevention, screening and early detection of medical conditions prevalent in this community. The majority of the KMP's patients are first-generation immigrants, and uninsured/underinsured families.

The KMP has shown itself to be a very important community asset. With the number of annual medical visits to the hospital and two satellite locations (Closter and Englewood Cliffs) having grown to 40,000, a 90 percent increase over the program's first year, the KMP has earned its outstanding reputation as a healthcare resource for many Korean-Americans in our region.

Through the efforts of a dedicated team of Korean American physicians  (80 doctors who specialize in a wide variety of disciplines) and philanthropic donors such as the Gilead Foundation, the KMP is positioned to provide free health screenings, treatments, surgeries, and counseling sessions to 10,000 people annually through its six major community outreach programs: "Walk for Mom" Breast Cancer Campaign, Asian Liver Center/Hepatitis B Campaign, Diabetes Campaign, Mental Health Program, Annual Health Festival, and "Healthy You" lifestyle modification program.

"Since its inception, the Korean Medical Program has been focused on developing initiatives to meet our community's healthcare needs," says Kyung Hee Choi, Vice President, Korean Medical Program. The generous grant from the Gilead Foundation will strengthen our efforts to advance cultural inclusion, eliminate health disparities and serve those in need."

Korean-friendly customer service and amenities that are in line with cultural traditions have made Holy Name, the Korean community's hospital of choice. Visitors are greeted in the lobby by customer representatives, patients are offered warm fluids instead of ice water and new mothers are served seaweed soup, and Korean-speaking drivers transport elderly patients from their homes to the Medical Center. By honoring the uniqueness of every individual and personalizing care, these practices engender trust and a sense of security, making patients feel at home in "their" hospital, Holy Name.

For more information about the Korean Medical Program at Holy Name Medical Center, please call 201-833-3399.

Photographed here:   Kyung Hee Choi, Vice President, Korean Medical Program; Michael Maron, President & CEO, Holy Name Medical Center, Michele Rest of The Gilead Foundation; Betty Chiang, MD; Chul Hyun, MD, Holy Name Medical Center hepatobiliary surgeon.