Wyckoff Heights Medical Center received a $2 million grant on Thursday to fund expanding the hospital’s gastroenterology services to treat colorectal cancer.
The funding comes to the Brooklyn hospital thanks to coordination between Wyckoff President Ramon Rodriguez and Congress Member Nydia Velazquez, who represents large swaths of Brooklyn, and is paid for by the federal Health Resources & Services Administration.
“To improve and expand access to screening for the community, Wyckoff proposed a construction and renovation project to create an all-inclusive suite on the fourth floor,” said Velazquez during a check presentation ceremony.
“I proudly support this important project that will save lives in our community,” said Velazquez. “And today, I am happy to deliver a check in the amount of $2 million.”
“Colorectal cancer is a disease that does not discriminate,” continued Velazquez. “However, it does have a significant negative impact on communities that do not have the same level of access to quality health care.”
Congress Member Velazquez and President Rodriguez both highlighted the importance of Wyckoff as a beacon of service for under-insured communities.
“Woodhull and Wyckoff every day are trying to come together to not only demand social justice and equity but to work together for the people who are directly involved in our primary services,” said Rodriguez.
Rep. Velazquez noted that underserved communities are at a greater risk for contracting and suffering from viruses and other preventable diseases like colorectal cancer.
“According to the CDC, of all cancers affecting both genders, colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States with 145,600 new cases and 15,000 deaths each year,” said the pol.
“We need to be intentional in order to achieve a more just and fair healthcare system in our nation,” she added.
“We should not lament that there is an unequal system, but we must fight and explain why it is so important for there to be equity,” Rodriguez agreed.
Rodriguez thanked Velazquez for her continued support throughout the years.
“There is no one stronger, no one more caring, no one more respectful, no one more engaged in helping Wyckoff and Woodhull and all the other aspects of healthcare delivery,” Rodriguez said of the congressional rep.
Velazquez recalled her own experience with COVID-19 and how frightening it was, thanking the doctors and nurses who work at Wyckoff for their service during the pandemic and beyond.
“I am grateful to you for the many lives that you saved, for the comfort that you gave to people who lost their loved ones,” said Velazquez.
The congressional rep noted the importance of a continually improving, robust healthcare system in light of the recent struggles many hospitals endured during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic was a once in a lifetime crisis,” said Velazquez, “and it taught us many valuable lessons such as the urgency of pandemic preparedness and the vital importance of cooperation between healthcare providers, governments and the broader public.”
“The pandemic also highlighted existing health disparities and inequities in the healthcare system,” continued Velazquez. “It laid bare for the world to see the systemic inequities that exist in the healthcare system of the most powerful, richest country in the world, and we need to change that.
“We need to build a healthcare system that will prevail and exist for years to come, so when the next healthcare crisis or pandemic is upon us, we will be prepared.”
Velazquez ended by noting the important step that the money marks for Wyckoff in their efforts to aid Brooklynites in need of health care.
“Today, Wyckoff takes another step forward in its effort to deliver essential, preventative care by expanding the gastroenterology services to increase access to care and fight colorectal cancer,” said Velazquez to a robust round of applause from staff doctors and nurses.