Brookdale Hospital, now known as One Brooklyn Health (OBH) after a rebranding effort, hosted its annual Community Health Fair on Saturday, August 26th, where vendors from clinics, specialties within the hospital and community partners lined the street in front of the iconic building at 1 Brookdale Plaza. The primary aim of this event is to raise awareness about the various services they offer to the community. Vendors such as 511NYRide, the Brooklyn Public Library, The Brooklyn NAACP and others were on hand to welcome community members.
This wasn’t just your typical health fair; there was a Jerk Chicken Cook-Off, where the NYPD chef competed against Brookdale’s resident chef for the title of the best “Jerk Chicken.” Classic cars were also a part of the day. Cars lined up at the top of the block, showcasing several classic Cadillacs and Fords. Medical professionals were onsite giving blood pressure screenings, weight management assessments and general health information.
One of the many clinics on hand was the Star Health Center, situated within Brookdale. The center operates a comprehensive care program for treating HIV, HCV and STIs. It also offers preventative care methods like PrEP for individuals who are currently HIV-negative. Hillary Farmer, department manager for Star, explained that their services extend beyond the hospital. They are actively working to eradicate the stigma associated with HIV testing and education.
One of the projects supported and conducted by Brookdale is the global U=U program. The program, founded by Health Activist Bruce Richman and the Prevention Access Campaign, introduced the “Undetectable equals untransmissible (U=U)” message. This initiative gained traction after Richman shared the news, upon returning from a flight from Greece, that living with HIV is undetectable with proper medication. The CDC and other global health organizations have embraced this project. Currently, Farmer and her team are conducting training programs for nurses and other staff members at Brookdale with a focus on educating them about PrEP and standardizing HIV testing procedures. Brookdale also provides transportation services for those diagnosed with HIV who wish to maintain their privacy. The hospital has formed partnerships with various transportation providers to ensure patients can access treatment facilities discreetly. They have also collaborated with the city to locate individuals who were tested for HIV but never received their results.
As conversations with these vendors progressed, the Jerk Chicken Cook-Off was in full swing. The victor? Brookdale Hospital’s Chef Oral Willis from Staten Island emerged as the winner, defying the odds and besting the NYPD chef. Chef Willis, despite having only been with Brookdale for six months, boasts over 10 years of industry experience. He outshined Chef Speedy from East New York, known for his extra-spicy Jerk Chicken inspired by his time living in Jamaica. Chef Willis possesses his own secret Jerk sauce, a creation fusing his Jamaican heritage with an American twist. Hailing from a Caribbean Island family, Willis was born here in America.
Reality TV star and Black Ink Crew creator Ceasar Emanuel was the judge for the day. He called in the final decision and gave Brookdale the win.