Health & Wellness

One Brooklyn Health Creates Patient Medical Teams for Central Brooklyn

Dr. Gilda-Rae Grell

By Fern Gillespie
One Brooklyn Health (OBH) believes that low-income Brooklynites should not have ten years taken off their life because of a zip code. This November, OBH will be taking a team approach in medical care in three Central Brooklyn communities. It’s launching the EQITI Project, a novel health professional training model based on Education, Quality and Interprofessional Team Integration. It’s a dedicated team approach to healthcare.

The OBH’s Department of Medicine was recently awarded a $25,000 President’s Grant by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation to support the development of EQITI model. This gives internal medicine residents a year-long experience in which they are part of the primary care team and have direct responsibility for the care of about 200 patients. OBH EQITI Project is focused on addressing the root causes of the significant life expectancy gap for the residents of Central Brooklyn communities “In the EQITI Project, each one of the residents will have about 200 patients in their group. Among the medical residents, it will be the attending, the nurse, the pharmacist, the nutritionist, and medical office assistants. Everyone will be on that patient’s team and will be with them for an entire year,” explained Dr. Gilda-Rae Grell, an Internal Medicine Chief Resident, who is from Dominica. Her primary job is to be a liaison between the 139 medicine residents and the hospital. Dr. Grell, who is training to become an internal medicine attending, works in both in-patient at Brookdale Hospital and at Brooklyn Health’s clinics.

“Whenever you need the medical residence resident you can call on them and have an appointment very soon. As opposed to waiting weeks for an appointment with your physician,” explained Dr. Grell. “Specialty appointments will happen more frequently, refills more frequently. There will be less visits to the emergency room because you can call your doctor. Maybe you don’t need to go to the emergency room you can but you can call your doctor in the clinic and avoid that emergency room visit.”

“Patients will not be seeing any other doctor then the one they’ve been assigned. It’s a chance for people to have a sense of bonding,” said Dr. Conrad Fischer, professor of Medicine at Touro College of Medicine and the Residency Program Director and Vice-Chair of Internal Medicine at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn. It has the largest internship in the United States.

“People are coming from all over the world. This year there are over 50 new doctors that came to this hospital from more than 20 countries. Just to be able to participate in the EQITI Project,” said Dr. Fischer. “If we said to people that you could get the best outcomes from medical care in the poorest neighborhoods, it’s putting education with care. It’s bringing people who are making Central Brooklyn a destination for education.”


One Brooklyn Health is focused on addressing the root causes of the significant life expectancy gap for the residents of Central Brooklyn communities. Fundamental to this effort is improving access to high quality primary and behavioral health care. By creating a long-term workforce strategy while directly improving the care of patients, the OBH EQITI Project represents a significant commitment to serving the population of Central Brooklyn.

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