The Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative
Although not technically a “citizen,” the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative was honored as a 2016 Citizen of the Year by the Greater Pascack Valley due to its outstanding support of the local community. Since its inception in 2009, the Hackensack-based nonprofit is a licensed ambulatory healthcare center that provides free primary care to low-income, working Bergen County residents without insurance. Relying on contributions from corporations, foundations and the public, its staff, which includes volunteer physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals, sees almost 1,000 patients every year.
“Our caring and compassionate volunteer medical professionals donate hundreds of hours of time to provide free primary care to nearly 1,000 low-income, working Bergen County residents who do not have insurance. We are grateful for the recognition of their efforts to ensure that healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” said BVMI Medical Director Dr. Arthur De Simone.
The nonprofit has two signature programs which cater to the majority of patients seen. The Diabetes Care and Education Program addresses nearly 400 patients who are diabetic or pre-diabetic, while the Women’s Health Initiative provides well-woman care and mental health care to 650 patients.
Its newest program, “Step by Step,” which is set to open later this year, is geared to helping patients combat weight problems like obesity, which affects over half of its patients. The nonprofit will relocate to a new center at 75 Essex St. in Hackensack to better accommodate additional patients.
Their website is: https://www.bvmi.org/