Providing Hope and Healthcare in Camden
Joanna Gagis goes to Camden to examine the socio-economic challenges that prevent residents from caring for their health, and how Virtua's Kyle W. Will Family Health Center treats children with behavioral issues that often stem from the violence in their communities.
"Recently my colleague Joanna Gagis went on location to Camden, New Jersey, to see how one healthcare system is helping residents in New Jersey's poorest city overcome obstacles to accessing quality healthcare. [music playing] For many residents in Camden, New Jersey, the need for healthcare is pressing, but the challenges of daily life often take precedence over the much needed medical services, struggling to pay the bills, to put food on the table, and to stay safe, are just some of the concerns affecting this community. Doctor Bhalodia, what are some of the greatest challenges in providing healthcare to this Camden community? I think the biggest challenges here in this community are probably so many barriers, there's financial, there's psycho-social, they have trouble getting to us, transportation's an issue, they have trouble affording medication, seeing a specialist, they don't have resources, family support. There's a learning barrier, you know, because a lot of them don't have diplomas or high levels of education, some even reading problems, a lot of the adverse events, and the trauma that they see, it's amazing. This is one of the poorest cities in the country. Definitely, probably, one of the most violent cities too in the country, so a lot of challenges. Camden is considered a food desert, meaning residents don't have access to fresh produce and ingredients, and unhealthy foods are often cheaper, leading to an increase in chronic diseases. We see a lot of diabetes, a lot of obesity, a lot of heart disease, there's lots and lots of care that needs to go into those chronic conditions. So a lot of that's learning about the disease, and getting more education. So it's access to care? Access to quality foods? And access to information? Yes, yeah. Virtua's Kyle Will Family Health Center, located in the heart of Camden, is working to reverse some of the major obstacles that prevent Camden residents from caring for their health. They work to meet the patients where they are, physically, mentally, and emotionally. How you been? Ah, a little rusty. [laughter] A little rusty, huh? They help individuals make better choices for themselves to help improve their own health. Jerome is a patient of mine who really cares about his health, and who's gone through a lot of challenges, really come through and improved a lot on his general medical health. I even lost weight. I lost 125 pounds. He changed his eating habits, and I saw the difference in it, you know, he's walking, exercising... During the Summer months, Virtua sets up a farmer's market in the city, so that residents can buy fresh produce that they otherwise wouldn't have access to..."