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Healthy Sundays, exemplifying the mission of Catholic Health Services (CHS) to care for those in need, is one of the system’s most prolific outreach efforts. Started in 2005, the Healthy Sundays program provides preventive health screenings and education to members of underserved communities on Long Island. Partnering with more than 35 parishes and community centers across Nassau and Suffolk, the initiative continues to grow, offering the expertise of hundreds of CHS volunteers.
Winner of the prestigious Healthcare Association of New York State’s 2011 Community Health Improvement Award and the Long Island Business News 2011 Health Care Heroes Award for Community Outreach, the Healthy Sundays program reaches the uninsured and financially distressed members of the community. Most seminars are bilingual, given in Spanish or Haitian, in addition to English, and representatives from Fidelis Care, an affordable health insurance provider, also attend these events.
The Healthy Sundays program is designed to identify and prevent medical conditions—such as tuberculosis, obesity, diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension—that are most prevalent in the neighborhoods served. The program aims to improve the underserved population’s quality of life, decreasing morbidity and mortality. Educational topics and health screenings include cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure and body mass index, as well as flu shots.
In 2011, 41 events were held, with more than 3,776 members of the community participating, receiving 6,111 screenings and 2,144 immunizations offered by 252 CHS personnel, who volunteered a total of 2,000 hours. As a result of these free services, 626 Long Island residents were given medical referrals for treatment. Those with abnormal results are seen at CHS hospitals or its other facilities such as the Bishop McHugh Health Center in Bay Shore or Hicksville, where they are cared for regardless of their ability to pay.