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Introducing Apicha's Anniversary Gala Honoree Howard Zucker, MD, JD

  • Category: News & Events
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  • Written By: Apicha Community Health Center

On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, Apicha Community Health Center is hosting our 28th anniversary benefit, A Thousand and One Champions.

The event's name reflects the countless individuals over the years who have championed our cause, and this year we are honored to recognize two extraordinary people who have helped strengthen our mission to effectively meet the health care needs of New York City’s underserved communities. One of those individuals is Dr. Howard Zucker, MD, JD, New York State Health Commissioner. 

Howard Zucker

During his time as commissioner, Dr. Zucker has championed initiatives to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, combat the opioid crisis, and improve environmental health. By the age of 22, Dr. Zucker – a Bronx native – earned his M.D. from George Washington University School of Medicine, and is trained in six specialties. To say he is driven, dedicated, and a force within the health care field is an understatement.

While he previously served as first deputy commissioner, Dr. Zucker worked on New York’s Department of Health's preparedness and response initiatives in natural disasters and emergencies. 

Dr. Zucker has been a long-time friend to Apicha CHC – and we are immensely grateful for his foresight, input, and advice. In November 2011, Apicha CHC met with then Commissioner Nirav Shah, Karen Westervelt and other staff members of NYS DOH to present our plea for bridge funding as we pursued a designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center. DOH heard our plea. Their support prevented closure of a free-standing Article 28 clinic that served people living with HIV/AIDS and other marginalized residents of New York City. Dr. Zucker and the AIDS Institute staff’s support prevented closure of a free-standing Article 28 clinic that serves people living with HIV/AIDS and other marginalized residents of New York City. It provided a bridge as Apicha CHC pursued a designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center. We achieved our dream, grew our services and now are charting a path that would prepare us for the anticipated value-based payment environment.

Four years ago, on December 30th, 2013, Dr. Zucker and several of his colleagues from the New York State Department of Health (DOH) came to Apicha Community Health Center for a site visit. We were thrilled to host his team. Earlier that month, we received a notice that Apicha CHC was awarded a $6.2million Vital Access Program and Safety Net Provider grant. Apicha CHC staff and Board were still celebrating the great news at the time of his visit.

His visit and the award affirmed that the Department of Health values Apicha CHC and its role in addressing the health care needs of New Yorkers.

The AIDS Institute has been a consistent funder of our programs and services since the 1990s and has provided Apicha CHC with invaluable technical assistance as we grappled with the challenges of transforming our organization from an AIDS service organization into a community Health Center. 

Apicha CHC’s experience is not isolated. Dr, Zucker’s steadfast leadership of DOH, especially during this period of uncertainty, is a source of confidence that New York State is firmly committed to improving the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers. Dr. Zucker’s unwavering support and active efforts to help Apicha CHC have made a lasting impact on our success of serving those in need. His tremendous leadership in times of uncertainty, past and present, ensures that public health remains a priority for our large and diverse state.

About the Benefit Gala:

Every year, Apicha Community Health Center pays tribute to outstanding individuals whose work improve the health and wellbeing of New York’s LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the health care community at large. Called A Thousand and One Champions, the celebratory event will take place on May 16th at the Manhattan Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt, from 6:00 PM-9:00 PM in the evening. The award ceremony will be the primary highlight of our annual benefit gala.28th gala banner

This is an exciting time at Apicha Community Health Center. We are marking important milestones in our current period of growth: the expansion of our clinic in Manhattan, renovated storefront, and our new site in Jackson Heights, Queens.

These expansions allow Apicha CHC to do our part in building healthier communities in New York. Jackson Heights and surrounding neighborhoods in Queens have significant unmet primary care needs, so we’re bringing our effective model of care to the area. Our Jackson Heights clinic will include adult primary medical care, pediatrics, mental health, dental care, and support services. Additionally, a new LGBT community meeting space will be created – which is something we believe is integral to benefitting the lives of many LGBTQ people.

If you’re new to Apicha CHC and are curious about our work, click here to learn more!