Bishop Ernest McNear and Rev Linn Crowe Co-Author Article on Global Outreach
Bishop Ernest McNear serves as the President of Philadelphia FIGHT’s Board of Directors as well as the Pastor of True Gospel Church of God in Christ. He recently published an important article in the Journal of Urban Mission coauthored by Rev. Linn Crowe.
“Location, location, location”–this is the cliché and mantra of real estate professionals in every city. Many churches in the inner cities of the United States have found that their location has become the center of a new group of immigrants who have arrived from the far-flung corners of the world. They may have arrived as refugees fleeing civil war or political persecution, or simply in search of a better life through new opportunities. Ordinarily, it means a different culture and language has arrived in the neighborhood. That was exactly what was happening around True Gospel Tabernacle as thousands of new arrivals from Southeast Asia began to appear in South Philadelphia.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia FIGHT reached out to more than 3,000 patients with hypertension because FIGHT staff believed in the power of medication adherence to achieve hypertension control.
Million Hearts® recognizes Philadelphia FIGHT as a Hypertension Control Exemplar for their outstanding efforts to prioritize hypertension treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Million Hearts® applauds Philadelphia FIGHT for making lasting changes in their patients’ lives and thanks them for their commitment to cardiovascular care!
John James, formerly the publisher of AIDS Treatment News, the most respected consumer driven newsletter about HIV treatment for over 30 years, has created a newsletter about COVID treatment.
To provide useful, up to date information on COVID-19 treatment and research, especially (1) early treatment to prevent hospitalization or death, and (2) Long Covid research and treatment possibilities.
We believe these two areas most need attention now. (Vaccines are at least as important, but they are getting lots of attention already.)
So we respect and report mainstream science. But ideal randomized trials are seldom done because of the expense, and emergency decisions must be made now. Refusal to decide is a decision, often with predictable and unfortunate results.
Life has evolved for more than a billion years to make choices under uncertainty, balancing risks and benefits – rather than doing nothing until near-certainty becomes available. This is how people make almost all personal decisions today, and how doctors make decisions in practice. Especially in case of a pandemic or other emergency, medicine needs organized, rational thinking for using imperfect information – instead of waiting for definitive clinical trials that may never be done.
Patients and doctors must make these decisions. It is not OK for the system to impose an automatic “No.”
A Statement From Philadelphia FIGHT Board President Bishop Ernest McNear and Chief Executive Officer Jane Shull about the death of George Floyd and FIGHT’s response
Philadelphia FIGHT joins in the national outrage about the death of George Floyd, the subsequent extraordinary delay by Minneapolis officials in charging the former police officers whom we watched murder a man accused of a nonviolent crime. We share your outrage at the lack of national response to the unending list of these incidents, that happen in every city and in every state with depressing regularity. In a time when fear and anxiety about COVID-19 has taken over the national and local stage, and many are sheltering at home, or are forced into public contact by jobs that they cannot walk away from, the death of George Floyd, the recent death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of the Louisville police, and the recent incident in Central Park in New York City involving Christian Cooper and a white woman who threatened him with racially motivated retaliation when he asked her to leash her dog, are clearly threatening to every person of color in the United States. As a healthcare provider, we are sickeningly aware of the damage to the health of African American, Latinx, Asian and other people of color that comes from the stress of living in a society where they must fear for their safety at all times, in situations where the privileged white population can feel completely safe. No one should have to worry for their safety because they are walking down the street, moving about in the neighborhood, entering their own home, sitting in their own home, sleeping in their own home, engaging in recreational activities in public or private parks, being a child playing in public spaces, or private spaces, driving in their care, or engaging in any of the other activities that we have watched with horror lead to a senseless death of a person entitled to a life of dignity and worth.
Much work needs to be done to address these issues. For now, Philadelphia FIGHT is responding to these recent events in the following ways:
As a healthcare provider our job is to take care of our patients’ health, and to do it without regard for race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, age, or ability to pay. We will work to assure that every patient we serve is treated with dignity and respect. Although right now taking care of your health has been made more challenging by COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, we want all of our patients to know that trauma and stress counseling is available at Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers. If you are feeling traumatized, stressed, upset or just needing to talk to somebody, we can help. We can meet with you by Telehealth, by Facetime, or by phone. If you are not our patient but would like to receive care from us, counseling is available to you as well. We are also offering spiritual counseling at this difficult time. If you feel that your physical health has been compromised due to the stress of these unconscionable events, please also call your care provider, or if you are not our patients but would like to become our patient, y ou can also call us. To access our care, please call one of these numbers. Adults 215-790-1788; 267-725-0252. Ages 13-24 215-344-1632. For children call 2125-5325-8600.
Please do not hesitate to seek help if you do not have health insurance as we serve uninsured people as well. And please do not hesitate to seek help for yourself at this time for any reason. We need to take care of ourselves and each other.
As a longtime provider of community education around HIV/AIDS and Healthcare, Philadelphia FIGHT has long emphasized the links between the AIDS Epidemic, and more recently the COVID-19 Epidemic, and racial and social justice. Our theme with AIDS Education Month is Prevention, Treatment and Justice, because all will be required to bring an end to AIDS in our lifetime. Similarly with COVID-19, just as with AIDS, as this new epidemic has advanced it has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable in our society. The racial disparities are clear and tragic, and the links between risk and economic status are equally savage. This year, AIDS Education Month is being held virtually – occurring only online – in order to keep everyone safe, and to comply with stay at home requirements and limitations on crowds. We invite you to particularly consider the following list of online webinars, each of which will include material on racial and social disparities and the effect on the health of people who have been disenfranchised. In addition, we are planning to add an additional webinar that will directly address the impact of police killings and brutality on the lives of the people we serve and others like them.
AIDS Education Month June 2020
Link to Event
Goals for our city and strategies for our future: Ending the HIV Epidemic in Philadelphia
If we can help you in the ways noted above or in any other way, to help you through this terrible time, please reach out. And to all the communities we serve: We will continue to seek ways to mitigate harm, and to change the social conditions that enable police killings, failure on the part of society to respond appropriately, and the continued inequality and racism that underlies these injustices.
PHILADELPHIA – FIGHT’s PrEP team received the prestigious Linden Award at the 19th Annual Centers for AIDS Research national meeting for their outstanding research study on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). Dr. Helen Koenig, the medical director of our PrEP Program, and the PrEP research team demonstrated that a urine test can be used to monitor adherence to Truvada™ taken as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for prevention of HIV. This urine test has the potential to help people taking PrEP for HIV prevention and prescribing clinicians maximize the effectiveness of PrEP; a highly effective tool in ending the HIV epidemic. This work was done to address a major research gap as, currently, there is no way to reliably measure adherence to PrEP and help patients taking this medication overcome barriers to adherence.
Dr. Koenig and her team presented these results at the National Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Symposium in Seattle, Washington where they also received award. This award, supported by funds donated to the NIH CFAR Program to advance research in HIV/AIDS, was awarded to the three investigators whose work demonstrated great significance, analytical and scientific rigor, novel/innovative methodologies, understandability to a wide scientific audience, and overall contribution to knowledge.
PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia FIGHT has announced the hiring of Barbara L. Bungy, MPH, MBA as the new Chief Operating Officer for FIGHT’s Community Health Centers. A member of the FIGHT Board of Directors since 2012, Ms. Bungy most recently served as the Board Secretary. She will begin on March 7, 2016.
Ms. Bungy brings outstanding leadership to the Philadelphia FIGHT team. Over the past eight years, Barbara has been employed by Drexel University College of Medicine within the Department of Pediatrics at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in several management positions including the Executive Director for the Center of the Urban Child, HIV Prevention Services Program Manager, and the Director of Grant Funded Programs within the Dorothy Mann Center for Pediatric & Adolescent HIV, a comprehensive primary and specialty HIV/AIDS care provider for HIV exposed newborns and HIV positive infants, children, adolescents as well as their affected families.
In her new role, Ms. Bungy will lead the clinical and administrative operations of FIGHT’s Federal Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC). “We’re truly excited to welcome Barbara to our senior management team,” said Executive Director Jane Shull. “She has been an outstanding Board Member at FIGHT, and a valued community partner and volunteer for many years. We’re confident that she is the perfect fit for this newly-created position.”
A graduate of Rowan University, Ms. Bungy earned two Master’s Degrees from Drexel University, an MPH in Public Health and an MBA in Business Administration. Barbara is a results-oriented individual who brings a wealth of knowledge in clinical operations, management, and systems in support of Philadelphia FIGHT’s mission and vision.
Thank you, Team Philadelphia FIGHT for helping us kick off our 25th Anniversary Celebration at this year’s AIDS Walk Philly. It was cold; it was early; but we did it! We raised over $13,000 which will go directly toward creating more services for people living with HIV and those at high risk. Thanks for your support!
Thank you to everyone that participated in AIDS Education Month 2015!
This year was a tremendous success. We reached thousands of people through our events including brand new End AIDS Conference. With over 65 workshops and over 1500 people in attendance, the conference was our biggest and most ambitious AEM project yet.
We would like to thank our Honorary Chairperson Cherri Gregg and our AEM Co-Chairs Bishop Dwayne Royster and Ann Ricksecker for their guidance and assistance.
Stay tuned for a more detailed recap of the month and visit our Facebook page for exclusive photos.
Karam Mounzer, MD
Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring.
Dr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who serves as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He has presented and/or published in the fields of community violence and domestic violence prevention, quality improvement, behavioral health, curriculum development and mentorship. In 2019 he received the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Award for Innovations in Healthcare.