Teaching Communities to Heal

After years of witnessing too many patients die from injuries that could have been prevented by a more timely first-response, Doctors Council member Dr. Melba Taylor, an emergency room physician at Harlem Hospital in New York City, had a vision.

“I saw that as doctors, even with the best technology, the best facilities, the best ‘medicine’ that so-called professional health care could not save every life, so I started the Medical Roots Project to empower people to take their health and their healing into their own hands.”

The Medical Roots Project is an independent nonprofit that Dr. Taylor started of her own initiative in her personal time to address basic health and first aid literacy in New York’s various communities.

The fruits of Dr. Taylor’s idea can be seen on the sidewalks of NYC on any given Saturday and Sunday, where she and other volunteers host pop-up clinics for the public to get in touch with their ‘medical roots.’ Participants learn life-saving skills such as CPR, how to apply pressure dressings to wounds, and the beneficial properties of fruits, vegetables and herbs for common ailments.

“I noticed, for example, that one of the largest obstacles to learning a basic skill like CPR, was that people often can’t afford the cost or the time to take a multi-hour training through an organization like the Red Cross,” Dr. Taylor said. “There’s no reason CPR needs to take 8 hours and $150 to learn. We’re giving people the opportunity to learn something that might one day save their own life of the lives of close loved ones.”

Pop-up clinics are held several times throughout the month and around the city. For more information, or to find out how you can get involved or volunteer, visit: www.medicalrootsproject.org/

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