Man on Street Pharmacy Doctor Health Center Urgent Care Hospital Ambulance Rediva
“Every day people come here instead of going to the doctor...
I tell them: go to the doctor!”
“If you spend time and money on prevention, then you save money on things such as emergency room care, and specialty medicine and surgical procedures.”
“I would say 90% of what I saw in the emergency room could have been taken care of by a primary care doctor...”
“With a little bit of education, with a little bit of time, that could have been prevented.”
“Primary care would be like everyone's doctor that they go to. There's just a doctor there, and a person at the office at the front desk. We don't necessarily do surgeries here, and we don't have specialists either.”
“Community Health Centers provide primary care, and sometimes we have specialists here, so patients can get all the care they need.”
“We don’t turn ANYONE away. Community Health Centers are for EVERYONE.”
“You should never go to an emergency room unless you absolutely have to.”
“Who owns your Community Health Center?”
“Good Question. If you are a federally funded or federally designated community health center, you have to be non-profit, and you have to have a board of directors that's made up of more than half of your patients.”
“60-70% of people in the Emergency Room don’t need to be there - that’s where we come in.”
“Come to Urgent Care if you need to be seen immediately and can’t see your primary care doctor.”
“We have what's called a sliding scale and we offer a significant reduction in overall medical cost and charges for people who don't have insurance.”
“Whether you have insurance or you don't have insurance, I think the people who have the greatest access to quality healthcare are folks who know where to go and have identified a caregiver or hospital as their organization.”
“You should all have access to healthcare within your neighborhood.”
“If you are in an accident, and you're unconscious, the driver will take you to the nearest hospital, and in the case of an emergency, how close that hospital is can save your life.“
“If you’re ill and you really need that immediate attention, it would be an injustice not being able to get that attention right away. Your life counts on it.”
“The Patient bill of rights is a list of rights that the patient has when they come into the hospital. A lot of times the patient doesn't know they have rights.”
“On a normal day, the job changes every hour. You never know what's going to come up - from someone stubbing their toe to someone getting stabbed with a knife.”
“We're not allowed to share private patient info with anyone other than other medical personnel.”
“The ambulance cannot deny you care. If you call 911 they are bound to care for you. Payment is not ours to determine.”
“There are ambulances that work for the municipality - the red and white ones run by the Fire Department. Then there are other ambulances that work within the same system, that originate form the hospital. Then there are privately run and privately owned ones. They all require the same credentials… so the care is supposed to be the same.”
“One main thing that needs to be changed is the ability of the patient to choose where they want to go. They do have that right, but the common practice is to steer patients to the nearest appropriate facility in the area.”
Everyone’s got something to say about doctors, hospitals, or getting sick. So we grabbed our camera and hit the streets. Here are a few people we met.

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is a nonprofit organization that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement. CUP’s Urban Investigations are project-based afterschool programs in which public high school students explore fundamental questions about how the city works. Students collaborate with CUP and teaching artists to create multimedia teaching tools that reach audiences in the fields of arts and social justice.

To learn more about CUP, visit

College Now is a free City University of New York program designed to prepare NYC’s public high school students for success in college. This project was hosted by College Now at Brooklyn College for students at EBC High School for Public Service-Bushwick.

To learn more about College Now, visit

CUP teaching artist: Douglas Paulson

CUP project lead: Valeria Mogilevich

CUP project support: Sam Holleran, Jeff Kasper, Sarah Serpas

EBC High School students: Angelisse Aponte, Ismael Aponte, Francisca Carino, Leslie Cohetero, Yulissa Dionicio, Jessica Warren, Cynthia Medel, Merlisa Peters, Chantal Poline Martinez, Fernando Rivera, Jessenia Soriano
EBC Coordinator: Marisol Cotto

College Now program staff: Pieranna Pieroni, director; Jennifer Mayzus and Rich Stremme, student affairs; and Rosemary Martinez, financial affairs

Web programming: Coalesce

Thanks to our interviewees: Marcus Berardino, Melissa Price, Charlotte Elkin (Collective Primary Care), Maxine Golub (Institute for Family Health), LeShane Lindsey (New York State Nurses Association), Noilyn Abesamis-Mendoza (Coalition for Asian American Children and Families), Leslie Miller (Med-Hattan), Lily Vaamonde (Legal Aid Society)

Big thanks to: Julia Carey, Mei Ling Chua, Stephen Dean, Beverly Grossman, Chad Karty, Sam Marks, James Whitman, Stephanie S. Yee, and Christine Yao.

This project is made possible by the CUNY College Now Program. Additional support was provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Copyright 2013, The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)