This Sunday–Help Save H+H & Our Safety Net Hospitals at Harlem Fair

Support the Enhanced Safety Net Bill!

New York City Health + Hospitals and safety net hospitals throughout the state face a significant financial crisis. Low-income communities and immigrant communities already struggle to access health care in their neighborhoods. Overcrowded emergency rooms and hospital closures are taxing both patients and healthcare providers. Many of these community hospitals do not receive adequate funding based on the number and type of patient population that they serve. New York State has the opportunity to change that with a bill that has passed the State Legislature and is awaiting signature from Governor Cuomo.

The bill would create a true definition of safety net hospitals so that an enhanced Medicaid rate will be available to those hospitals that meet the criteria and truly provide care for Medicaid and uninsured patients. Healthcare workers and community allies are standing together to show support for this bill, to educate our friends and neighbors, and to advocate for the necessary funding to provide the quality healthcare that our communities deserve!

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Doctors Council Member Honored at Friends of Harlem Hospital Center 7th Annual Golf Tournament

On Monday, August 15, 2016, Doctors Council member Dr. Aubrey G. Clarke, was honored with the Distinguished Healer Award at the Friends of Harlem Hospital Center 7th Annual Golf Tournament. Dr. Clarke is a leading cardiologist who has served the Harlem Community for many years and presently works as an attending physician in the department of Medicine and Associate Chief of the Division of Cardiology and Physician in Charge of the Coronary Care Unit.


Considered a pioneer in the design and implementation of Primary Care Models, Dr. Clarke was the Medical Director of the Sydenham Neighborhood Family Care Center and was intricately involved in the planning and development of the diagnostic and treatment center which later became the Renaissance Health Care Network. In fact, the Renaissance Health Care Network was the name that Dr. Clarke proposed to the Community Advisory Board which was subsequently approved by New York City Health + Hospitals.

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The Friends of Harlem Hospital Center Annual Golf Tournament raises funds to directly support patient care prgrams and services at Harlem Hospital Center, notably contributing over $114,000 in January 2016 for the replacement of diagnostic and surgical equipment in the Ophthalmology Clinic.

Other honorees at this year’s tournament included New York State Assemblyman Hon. Keith Wright, the Rev. Tawan W. Davis, and community leader Corwin J. Breeden.

The Unhealthy State of Equal Pay for Women in Medicine Continues

A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine confirms that women physicians still make less than their male counterparts.  We explored this issue in a previous post, and unfortunately little has changed.

The study in JAMA Internal medicine by Dr. Jena et al concludes:
“We analyzed sex differences in salary between male and female academic physicians at 24 US public medical schools using contemporary administrative salary data of state employees made publicly available online by state governments. After adjusting these analyses for physician age, years of experience, specialty, faculty rank, several measures of research productivity, and payments by Medicare (information obtained from a comprehensive database of US physicians), we found that annual salaries of female academic physicians were 8.0% ($19879) lower than those of male physicians. This difference represents 38.7% of the unadjusted difference in salary between men and women.

An accompanying editorial by Dr. Arora in the journal points out that “Although the profession of medicine achieved gender equity with equal representation in medical schools’ admissions, we are faced with one of the largest pay gaps between sexes among professionals. It is particularly alarming that the gender pay gap among physicians appears to be widening.”

In a New York Times article highlighting the survey  Dr. Molly Cooke, a professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco comments that “It’s 2016, and yet in a very methodically strong, large study that covers a broad swath of the country, you’re still seeing at the very least a 10 percent difference in what men and women take home.”

The study found that the gender gap was greater in some disciplines than others. As the New York Times article summarizes, radiology is the only department where women are paid more.  The surgical specialties show the greatest gender variation.  “The average pay gap between female and male orthopedic surgeons was nearly $41,000. The difference was about $38,000 among oncologists and blood specialists, about $36,000 among obstetrician-gynecologists and $34,000 among cardiologists.”

As a union we believe that salaries should be transparent and openly negotiated.  While this would clearly not solve the problem it would go a long way to bringing the salary differences into the light.

Doctors Address Racism


“We are doctors and medical students who witnessed the events of the week of July 4th, 2016 with horror and grief. The murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota and Delrawn Small in Brooklyn, New York reiterated a lesson that we should not have to keep learning: that black and brown people in the United States are at risk of police violence unlike any other group of people. There is a long tradition of physician-activists who have devoted their careers to working for racial justice. Yet historically, physicians as a group have not yet taken adequate responsibility for confronting racism, in our work or outside of it. “

This is the beginning of a  “Letter to our Patients on Racism”  signed by 1492 (as of our last count) doctors.  They make 5 commitments to their patients

  1. “We commit to support Black Lives Matter
  1. “We commit to dismantling the structural racism embedded in the healthcare system.”
  1. “We commit to learn how to provide trauma-informed care, and to teach this approach to our students, trainees, and fellow providers.”
  1. “We commit to healing communities ravaged by discriminatory criminal justice practices through engaging public health systems.”
  1. “We commit to using our power as constituents and leaders to insist that every major medical society and association develop a policy on racial justice.”

The letter links to an impressive range of scholarly sources documenting the role of racism both as an underlying cause of health disparities as well as the role of racism in health care it self.

As a union we  have always called for a collective response from doctors for racial justice.  We applaud the letter and urge more Doctor Council members to sign on.




How Best To Address Healthcare Disparities?

While there has been increasing attention on Healthcare Disparities  and more centralized thinking on how to address these disparities, the problem still remains.  In New York City a recent conference marked the launch of the NYC Coalition to Dismantle Racism in the Health System.

Doctors Council is part of this group whose goal is “to equip health professionals (in all sectors: community health activists/CBO, social work, public health, medicine, health policy, academic medicine) with the tools to address racism and eliminate inequities in the health system in NYC.”

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Doctors Council SEIU Letter to U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, Conn. on Gun Control Measures

June 17, 2016

United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Murphy,

Doctors Council SEIU applauds your efforts on the Senate Floor to demand the Senate
take up a variety of gun control measures. We especially support the amendments
expanding background checks on all gun purchases and making it more difficult for
individuals being monitored for terrorism activity to purchase firearms.

As the union representing doctors in New York City’s and Chicago’s public hospitals
and correctional facilities, we recognize that gun violence is a public health problem
that kills 90 Americans a day. Doctors are witness to the aftermaths of shootings every
day. Assaults involving firearms are consistently more deadly than those with other
weapons. Our emergency room doctors are seeing more and grislier gun injuries and
fatalities in recent years, in part due to semi-automatic rifles like the one used in

The failure of Congress to pass gun control measures has been particularly
disheartening especially with so many horrific mass shootings in recent years. Gun
violence is increasingly damaging our communities and leaving not only physical scars
but emotional and psychological scars on families.

We support your commitment to putting people over politics and we encourage the rest
of Congress to do the same.

Strengthening our gun laws and closing loopholes in the background check system can
help prevent lethal hate crimes and acts of terrorism in the U.S. like the horrifying mass
shooting in Orlando.

We also strongly support gun violence prevention through research, education and
advocacy. We must continue to push to allow federally funded research to study gun
violence like any other public health issue.

We urge your colleagues to vote yes on the Murphy and Feinstein amendments to the
Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill.

Thank you for your continued leadership on this issue.


Frank Proscia, M.D.
President, Doctors Council SEIU

CC: Senate Majority Leader McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Reid
House Speaker Ryan
House Minority Leader Pelosi
Senator Schumer
Senator Gillibrand
Senator Durbin
Senator Kirk

Standing united with the families & friends of the victims in Orlando & with the LGBTQ community across the country


Dear Doctors,

I am sure each of you, like us, was saddened and shocked at the senseless tragedy in Florida over the weekend.  Doctors Council stands united with those who believe in an inclusive and open society- one in which we are all welcome and treated equally. We stand together in support of the LGBTQ community- in Florida and everywhere in our country. We condemn the hatred that brings this violence.

With the deaths of at least 49 people (and at least that many and more wounded) Sundaymorning at a club in Orlando, Florida, the toll from gun murders this year continues to rise.  This is the deadliest mass shooting in American history.  As we have in the past, we must continue to push to overturn the ban by Congress on the CDC on gun violence research.  Gun violence is a public health issue.  Reform on gun control is needed.  I reflect on how these tragedies are occurring too often- one is too many, and yet they continue to happen- senseless attacks (especially with guns) on people simply for who they are or who they represent.

There are many stories coming out of this. I reflect on the one where the mother received texts from her son hiding in the bathroom with others as the gunman came after them. My heart goes out to that mother and the family and friends of her son. Please join us in remembering the victims and their families, friends and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.

If you are interested in donating:  GO FUND ME:  * A GoFundMe account has been set up to help raise funds for the victims and families of the horrific Orlando Pulse Nightclub Shooting:

I am proud that our members–each of you–work in facilities where we provide services to those we care for regardless of who they are and where they are from. We will continue to advocate for a society and a country that reflects the best of this mission of inclusiveness and not of bigotry, divisiveness and hatred.

Thank you for what you do each day and what this represents. Rather than tearing us apart, these tragic acts–this time directed at the LGBTQ community–bring us closer together.


Frank Proscia, M.D.