Tzu Chi Long Island Provides Medical Treatments and Haircuts for the Community on Good Health Day

Northeast  |  August 8, 2023
Volunteers and doctors take a group photo at the end of the event. Photo/Huaixian Huang

Written by: Pin Hau Chiou
Translated by: H.B. Qin
Edited by: Patrick McShane

On the third Sunday of July, Tzu Chi USA Northeast Region Long Island Service Center’s Good Health Day kicked off amidst the rain. The inclement weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Tzu Chi volunteers, nor that of the patients who came to the clinic. 87 residents registered for the day’s free clinic, and about 137 volunteers and 32 medical professionals came to serve. All told a total of 197 medical treatments and 27 haircuts were provided throughout the day.

The event provided free medical services, including vision checkups, eyeglass fittings, dental checkups, teeth cleanings, blood pressure measurements, glucose measurements, and body mass index measurements. 

All services are offered to anyone in need but are targeted towards low-income and uninsured residents. Some patients who visited the free clinic were there for the first time, and others had not seen a doctor for a long time. The event met their urgent needs and was of great help to them. Tzu Chi TIMA doctors diagnosed and treated each patient with care, gave appropriate advice to each individual, and made referrals according to the patient’s needs.

Future Plans to Help The Community

Long Island TIMA spent two months planning Good Health Day and spent hours setting up the site the day before the event. Although the sudden rain disrupted the original plan, everyone did their best to serve and make the day a success.

A patient receives acupuncture treatment. Photo/Huaixian Huang

“After a full day of service, we found that there is a high demand for dental and eye care services, and we plan to organize several smaller free clinics in the future. In addition, we need to build up our capacity for acupuncture and physical therapy services,” said Joe Chang, head of TIMA Long Island. In the U.S., the high cost of dental and eye care visits deters many low-income residents from seeking the medical care they need. The free clinics provided by Tzu Chi give them the opportunity to maintain dental and eye health while also easing the financial burden of medical care.

New Friends From Afar

Also on-site at the Good Health Day were several students from Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology in Taiwan. These students came to the U.S. for their summer internship and assisted with vision screenings.

Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology intern Hui Ting Bai assists measuring color blindness. Photo/Huaixian Huang

Everything is a new experience for the students. When faced with many experiences she had dealt with before, Hui Ting Bai was nervous at first. When asked what difficulties she encountered, she said, “The [biggest] difficulty I encountered was that the people only spoke Spanish, and I had to ask for the help of the volunteer interpreters, but this was something [I] had not tried before, and it was worth learning.” Whenever the volunteer interpreters were busy, Mei Hua Zhang chose to use Google Translate to communicate with the Spanish-speaking residents. She was excited about the experience, saying,  “There are people from all over the world in the U.S., it’s fun to be able to communicate and chat with different people.”

There were many Spanish-speaking residents at the event. Well aware of the linguistic diversity of the area, the Long Island Service Center had already made preparations by arranging for Spanish-speaking volunteers to be on-site during the clinic. In addition to providing professional Spanish interpreters for patients to communicate with doctors and nurses, Tzu Chi volunteers also provided Spanish services for registration, orientation, form filling, and medication collection. This extra attention to detail was done so that the people who came to see the doctors were provided with sufficiently attentive and comprehensive medical services, making the Good Health Day warm and welcoming in the cold and rainy weather.

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