Queens Gazette: Dromm, Latino Commission On AIDS Push For Awareness

Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) stood with the Latino Commission on AIDS and many other advocates on October 15, National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, on the steps of City Hall to promote awareness and HIV testing. Since the councilmember’s election, he has advocated with the commission to stop the stigma around testing for HIV. “I thank the Latino Commission on AIDS for inviting me to stand with them on National Latino AIDS Awareness Day,” said Dromm. “As an openly gay councilmember representing a district that is 40 percent Latino and also has a large LGBT community, I want to say that speaking out about HIV and AIDS is important. The more we talk, the more we will eliminate the stigma surrounding this disease. It’s important that everyone get tested.  HIV/AIDS is preventable and treatable.” More than 37,000 Latino New Yorkers are living with HIV.

Read more: http://www.qgazette.com/news/2013-10-23/Features/Dromm_Latino_Commission_On_AIDS_Push_For_Awareness.html

Ny1: Touring Daniel Dromm’s District

NY1 VIDEO: The Road to City Hall’s Errol Louis visited City Councilman Daniel Dromm’s 25th city council district in Queens.

Times Ledger: New hospital unit heals pains

From Times Ledger: By Rebecca Henely

Elmhurst Hospital Center opened its new Chest Pain Observation Unit Monday, capping a long-awaited, $1 million project which the staff said will ease their crowded emergency room.

“This is something that surely is needed here in this hospital,” said Antonio Martin, executive vice president of the city Health and Hospitals Corp., which operates Elmhurst Hospital Center.

The hospital, at 79-01 Broadway in Elmhurst, received $1 million in funding for the 13-bed unit from City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and the Council’s Queens delegation.

Chris Constantino, executive director for Elmhurst Hospital Center, said it had been given the funding in 2011 and started using the unit right after Monday’s ribbon-cutting.

“When we clear this out, we will start wheeling patients in,” he said.

Elmhurst’s new unit will be run by the emergency room staff with an assist by the cardiology staff. Constantino said under Medicare and Medicaid, patients who have chest pains but have not had a heart attack should be in an observation unit so medical staff can properly diagnose the best care. Patients can stay in the room for up to 23 hours for various tests such as sonograms and stress tests.

Dromm, who has taken his mother to the hospital for care in the past, said it has been a campaign promise of his to support Elmhurst in light of the numerous hospital closures that have taken place across the borough. He said Elmhurst is vitally important to the immigrant community, who often use the hospital for primary care.

“Elmhurst, in fact, is the place you go if you’re undocumented,” he said.

Queens has had several hospitals shut down over the past five, including the 2007 closing of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Flushing, the 2008 closing of Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, the 2009 closings of Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica and St. John’s Hospital Queens in Elmhurst and the closure two months ago of Peninsula Hospital in the Rockaways.

Constantino said even though Peninsula Hospital was far from Elmhurst, the ripple effects from the shutdown have still been felt at the center, which has seen a residual increase in demand.

“This room couldn’t come at a better time,” he said.

Monday’s ribbon-cutting for the new unit was greeted enthusiastically by about 100 hospital staff members, as well as a group of visiting nurses and doctors from China’s Fujian Provincial Hospital.

“This area is going to be a great help to our patients,” said Dr. Jasmin Moshirpur, regional director for the Queens Health Network, “to our nurses especially.”

NY Daily News: Greenmarket proposes closing Jackson Heights street

From NY Daily News: By Clare Trapasso

The only year-round farmers market in Queens is asking Jackson Heights residents to back a plan to shut down a quiet neighborhood street on Sundays to accommodate the popular market.

A Greenmarket official is to present a proposal on Thursday to Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee to close a portion of 78th St., between 34th Ave. and Northern Blvd.

The board is slated to vote on the plan on Jan. 19.

During the summer, the block is transformed into a car-free community play street next to Travers Park.

“If the street is closed off on Sundays, it creates more space, which allows for a safer market and a much more enjoyable market,” said Michael Hurwitz, director of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket program.

“It just provides more space for kids’ activities, cooking demonstrations,” he said.

The market has no plans at this time to expand, Hurwitz said.

“I’m supportive of their efforts to close down 78th St. on Sundays,” City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said. “It makes more sense that the Greenmarket be on that street.”

Len Maniace, vice president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, said the closure would make the market safer.

“When you’ve got pedestrians crossing the street and people shopping right near traffic, it’s a potential problem,” he said. “When people are shopping, they’re not necessarily thinking about traffic.”

Dudley Stewart, president of Jackson Heights Green Alliance, said the shutdown could also benefit local children.

“If it’s closed the kids could definitely play on it,” he said.

The neighborhood has one of the smallest amounts of park land in the five boroughs.

Community leaders have been pushing the city to turn 78th St. into a permanent pedestrian plaza to connect Travers Park to an open field at the Garden School, an adjacent private school.

The city is in talks to purchase the roughly 29,000-square-foot field from the cash-strapped nursery-through-12th-grade school. The property would be used as park land on evenings and weekends when school is over.

But the discussions have been dragging on for more than a year.

“I’m confident the parties are working out the details,” Dromm said. “Hopefully we’ll have good news in the near future.”

NY1: Jackson Heights Straphangers Sickened By Droppings-Covered Subway Station

From NY1: By Angela Chen

City Councilman Daniel Dromm and Jackson Heights residents have raised a stink for a long time about the pigeon waste that falls down from the beams of the Roosevelt Avenue/Jackson Heights subway station, but Dromm says he has a tough time getting the MTA to regularly clean it.

Times Ledger: Torture victims land at Elmhurst

A surprising number of the immigrants in Queens have been tortured by oppressive regimes or police forces abroad, but a organization at Elmhurst Hospital Center that was honored by lawmakers Friday helps those victims put their lives back together.

Around 6 percent of patients who pass through the Elmhurst hospital’s emergency room have been tortured, according to Braden Hexom, a physician in the ER.

“Many of the people who come to Queens are fleeing turmoil in their own countries,” he said at Friday’s ceremony honoring the Libertas Center for Human Rights.

If those people are on the wrong side of the turmoil — whether it is due to their race, religion, political views or sexuality — it can have lifelong consequences.

Immigrants who visit the center have been beaten under doctor supervision, imprisoned in isolation, raped by police or forced to watch someone else rape a spouse, said Hexom, who started the center with a few other doctors.

Some of the work the center does is physical, like providing physical therapy for torture victims who may have broken bones in the past or have excessive scar tissue, according to Dinali Fernando, a doctor who also works in the ER and volunteers her time to the center that she helped start.

But most patients need psychiatrists and therapists to help them cope with the mental anguish brought on by the torture.

“I’m not sure you ever can get over it,” she said. “But it’s more about functioning like you were before the incident.”

About 35 percent of patients come from West Africa, about 25 percent from Central and South America, about 25 percent from South Asia and the Middle East and the remainder from all over the world, according to Leah Weinzimer, the program director of the center.

Many of the roughly 100 people who have passed through the center since April 2010 are seeking asylum in America so they do not have to return to their home countries.

Getting patients to open up about their experiences can allow the doctors at the center to write an affidavit to the government, which in turn helps the patients’ chances.

Without an affidavit, people stand a 25 percent chance of receiving asylum. With an affidavit, that chance more than triples, according to Weinzimer, who said 40 percent of patients have received an affidavit from the center.

Two former patients spoke at the ceremony, where City Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) presented the center with a proclamation.

Christian Ngalle sought asylum in America after he was tortured in his home country of Cameroon. Ngalle was a journalist, and after criticizing the government he and his whole family were rounded up and tortured. He still bears physical scars from the ordeal, but has now started his own French-language news magazine from his New Jersey home.

Alvin Gavin was a gay man living in Jamaica and was tortured due to his sexual orientation, but he said after receiving asylum with help from the center, he can finally express himself in America.

“No more hiding under a rock,” he said. “I’m out like a crab.”