For many years, Interfaith Medical Center (IMC) struggled to remain open. Many residents have doubted its quality due to recent stresses on the institution, including bankruptcy and a reorganization of the leadership. But many employees and managers of the medical center, union leaders of 1199SEIU and NYSNA, and members of the community that it serves also recognize the importance of Interfaith, the only full-service hospital in the densely populated, high-needs Brooklyn communities of Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights. The LMP is helping to facilitate their efforts to allow Interfaith to survive and thrive.
The Save Interfaith Community Coalition, made up of union leaders, Interfaith executive leaders, local politicians, faith-based leaders and activists, meets regularly to discuss issues and concerns affecting Interfaith. The coalition’s formation was a collaboration among 1199SEIU, NYSNA, and community leaders. Early in its formation, the LMP was asked to help facilitate its development and planning. LMP lead consultant Maria Charles is also working with Interfaith, providing coaching support and training to help leadership and staff improve Interfaith’s customer service and outcomes, with support from LMP consultant Mike Shay. On July 21, Charles and Shay co-designed a retreat with a community-based organization at which the coalition discussed ways of helping the institution flourish again.
At the retreat, LaRay Brown, Interfaith’s new president as of this February, shared her vision for the institution and asked for input from the participants. Interfaith, she explained, will continue to provide high-quality patient care while adopting an “anchor mission” focused on providing a variety of healthcare, educational and economic development services to the community and building partnerships with local businesses. “The robust discussion at the retreat generated several concrete ideas that IMC could put into action,” she said. “One specific action was for the hospital to review its current procurement contracts and identify opportunities for local minority- and women-owned businesses. Another was for the hospital to work with the coalition to seek funding to sustain the work of the coalition related to reducing health inequity through a community-driven campaign, local community economic development and other collaboratively developed goals of the coalition-IMC partnership.”
With the help of ongoing support from LMP and the coalition, Brown remains confident that positive change will take place at Interfaith in the near future.