Dr. Henry Chen is an internist working in Brooklyn. He speaks as the president of the SOMOS physician network, and is well acquainted with the work of health care for New York's immigrant community: he himself treats patients from China.
“Cultural understanding is very important when caring for a patient. You have to take into account their language, their beliefs, their way of understanding life according to their country and culture of origin, their family environment…” These are the words of Dr. Henry Chen, president of SOMOS, the network of doctors who care for vulnerable people in New York.
“23 years of serving the community”
Chen knows the situation firsthand: “I’m a primary care internist working in Brooklyn. I’ve been serving the community for 23 years.” His appearance leaves no doubt: “I’m of Chinese origin and I can serve Chinese migrants knowing very well what they need and what kind of specific attention they require.”
Appropriate therapy for each population group
This has made him aware, in his particular case, that for a Chinese patient it’s important to include acupuncture in their therapy. “It is officially recognized, and we can apply it in many situations—to treat osteoarthritis, for example, and pain in cancer patients.”
More than 700,000 patients treated in 5 years
SOMOS is 5 years old. This health care network, which attends Medicaid patients, is essential in New York: “We’ve served over 700,000 people, most of them without financial resources.” The majority come from Latin America.
The doctors at SOMOS work with a great sense of vocation: they practice medicine, but go beyond it as well, taking an interest in their patients and their families. “We help immigrants and minorities, and we are part of them; we’re members of the community and we speak their language.”
That’s how other young doctors join SOMOS, both primary care physicians and specialists. Chen adds that they need to work in more hospitals to be able to provide full medical coverage to patients, including such aspects as Emergency Room service.
Their work is exciting, and impressive thanks to their professional prestige and the spirit of service with which they attend their patients: the chronically ill, children, the elderly, mothers… It’s the human face of medicine in the city that never sleeps.