Northwell Health recognizes the importance of partnering with the community to educate, diagnose and treat eye diseases. Through clinics, health fairs and a variety of other health programs, Northwell Health gives underserved populations locally and abroad access to specialized health care.
The health system provides community residents with free health screenings through programs organized by each member hospital. Our hospitals regularly provide screenings, where health professionals check vitals including blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and administer eye exams.
Each year the health system hosts or participates in more than 800 community health programs and provides more than 25,500 health screenings.
In 2014, Northwell Health embarked on a new clinical mission to offer assistance to underserved international communities. Amilia Schrier, MD, a corneal specialist at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, and cornea fellow Carrie Zaslow, MD, went to Haiti to provide eye care to Jacmel, a rural community. Jacmel was one of the cities affected by the 2010 earthquake. Even before the earthquake, the city had limited access to modern healthcare. With less than 50 ophthalmologists in the entire country, there was only one ophthalmologist in a neighboring town that could provide eye care.
In association with the Haitian Association for Human Development, a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, engineers, college students and other volunteers from around the United States offered pediatric, obstetric, surgical and ophthalmic care to residents of Jacmel. For two weeks, the volunteers worked together to create a pop-up clinic utilizing donated equipment from the United States and improvising on other common medical devices that were not available in Haiti.
Unlike the modern medical facilities at North Shore-LIJ, these volunteers provided care under dire conditions, including constant electricity blackouts, limited access to fresh water and limited equipment. Dr. Schrier and Dr. Zaslow were part of the eye team where they worked alongside an American and Haitian ophthalmologist and an optometrist to provide eye care. Dr. Schrier and Dr. Zaslow led an outreach clinic in Jacmel where they screened more than 80 patients per day. They also performed 20 cataract surgeries at Codeva Hospital in Jacmel.
The mission trip served as a capstone experience to the inaugural year of the cornea fellowship at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital and the Northwell Health Department of Ophthalmology.