To Your Health: December 2019
"Wheels to Whitney" Hits the Road
Almost 48% of children participating in Seal a Smile, our dental hygiene program which operates in 52 schools locally, have untreated dental cavities. Our newest program, Wheels to Whitney , was created to increase access to dental care for children by transporting them from their schools to our health centers for restorative dental work, including cavity fillings.

Whitney Young Health (WYH) staff and volunteers transport two children at a time to receive dental care. If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering for the Wheels to Whitney program as a chaperone, please contact Volunteer Program Manager Keith Pickett at (518) 591-4473 or

Top Right: Wheels to Whitney logo,
Bottom Right: WYH employee Shirley Castro driving for Wheels to Whitney.
Community-Based Programs Intern Aims to Improve Communication and Outreach
When she was growing up, Rochester native Abby Salter always loved the sciences, so it came as no surprise that she chose Biology as her major when she entered Niagara University. What Abby did not expect was that she would fall in love with Public Health, one of her dual minors alongside Chemistry. That passion lead her to UAlbany’s School of Public Health, where she is now in her 2nd year of the two-year Master’s program with a concentration in Epidemiology and a certificate (minor) in Health Disparities. 

Abby found her internship with Whitney Young Health’s Community Based Programs (CBP) department on the UAlbany website. “It looked like a perfect fit”, said Abby, who was looking for an opportunity that combined her areas of interest – pediatrics, community health, Trauma-Informed Care and social determinants of health.

Since starting her internship this past September, Abby has worked alongside CBP program director Amanda Duff and her staff to improve outreach efforts to patients. “I’ve been able to apply the lessons I’ve learned in school and actually see things in a real-world setting”, Abby said of her experience. “I have run focus groups, worked with qualitative data and community engagement”.

Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) (see article below) is becoming standard in community health settings nationwide. Whitney Young Health is piloting TIC in pediatrics, particularly in the School Based Health Centers (SBHCs), with a plan to go agency-wide as areas of need are discovered.

Through her internship, Abby has worked on broader outreach programs to build relationships with the families of children in the SBHCs and visited Whitney Young Health staff at the schools to ask them their interpretation of TIC and what they believe should be the next steps taken. 

Abby has also worked with the parents/families to find out what resources they need and finding out the best ways to reach out to them. “People seem to have this idea that when parents don’t show up at school meetings, it’s because they don’t care, but nothing could be further from the truth.” 

Parents, she said, often don’t attend meetings because they may not have been contacted, or if they were, they cannot get to the meetings due to lack of transportation, having to work second or third jobs, and having to take care of other kids and family members. Using the principles of Trauma-Informed Care and creating more and better pathways to communication with patients and families allows staff to break down misconceptions and misunderstandings that can occur. A new Community Based Programs intern will start in January of 2020 with the spring semester focused entirely on outreach to families.

Abby’s internship ends this month, but she plans to continue in the field. Going forward, she says, she would like to pursue a degree in medicine or psychology incorporating public health. “I love the one-on-one interactions allowed in medicine and psych, but I also love the community impact of public health...I've learned so much at Whitney Young Health. I'm going to miss it!"
What is Trauma-Informed Care?
Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) involves understanding what trauma is and how it affects individuals being cared for by doctors, nurses and other providers. 

Individuals can experience various types of trauma, including Acute trauma, (a single traumatic incident, limited in time), Chronic trauma (Multiple traumatic events, often with cumulative effects) and Complex trauma (Exposure to chronic trauma—usually caused by authorities entrusted with the person’s care—and the impact of such exposure on the person).

Understanding these factors and minimizing the risk of re-traumatizing individuals makes it easier to communicate effectively, get individuals and families the help they need, minimize maladaptive behavior, and improve health outcomes.
Whitney Young Health's 2nd Annual Holiday Tree of Light Brightens the Season
At 4:30 pm on Thursday, December 12 as the sky darkened, Whitney Young Health employees gathered at the Albany Health Center for the 2nd Annual Holiday Tree of Light ceremony.

In the weeks leading up to the event, employees could "purchase" light bulbs on the tree at $5.00 each in memory, honor or celebration of family members, friends or co-workers. As employees stood in the evening chill, the names of the individuals were read aloud before the lights were switched on.

All proceeds from the Tree of Light will be used to provide support and care directly to patients that need it, regardless of income. 
Click the button below to donate to Whitney Young Health
Whitney Young Health in the Community
Two Nutrition majors from the American University of Beirut (AUB), are one step closer to graduating as Registered Dietitians, thanks in part to an internship with Whitney Young Health’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

Lara and Dana, natives of Lebanon, are currently spending a semester at Russell Sage College, and taking part in a five-week internship with WIC, concentrating on Community Nutrition.

The women recently set up a table at Whitney Young Health's Albany Health Center to present information on Food Safety, talking not only to people receiving WIC services, but also to patients who stopped by with questions.

"We serve a significant number of Arabic-speaking clients," said WIC Program Director Katie Palmer "It was great to have Lara and Dana here to converse with people in their first language".

Lara (left) and Dana at the Food Safety information table they created as part of their internship.
MVP Healthcare donated over 75 winter coats to Whitney Young Health in sizes for children, teens and adults as part of the annual Coats for Kids campaign they sponsor.
Over the past few weeks, the coats have been distributed by WYH staff to children at our School-Based Health Centers , patients seen on our Whitney on Wheels (WOW) Mobile Health Center, Health Home members and to participants in our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
Elizabeth Burciaga, Family Engagement Coordinator at North Albany Academy, (a WOW site) holds up one of the coats which will be given to the kids and teens who attend the school.
Whitney Young Health