Central Civico Summerfest a success

Central Civico Summerfest a success

Amsterdam health fair draws crowd

Saturday, August 23, 2014

By Sudip Bhattacharya
Gazette Reporter


AMSTERDAM — Since second grade, Thalia Leon, 18, has to deal with her severe asthma.

Even going up a flight of stairs can force her to stop and try and catch her breath. She’s been using her asthma inhalers daily.

On Friday, however, she spoke with Dr. Maruthi M. Sunkara, a pediatrician certified in asthma education at Nathan Littauer Hospital, about her condition.

He told Leon to ask her doctor for a different sort of medication, and to also find out what could possibly be triggering the asthma, such as dust or pollen. He handed her information that could also help her.

This was a common scene at the second annual SummerFest that was held at the lot at Centro Civico and sponsored by Nathan Littauer.

The clouds gathered overhead. The wind was cold. But again and again, people from the community would arrive, and ask for more information at one of the many vendors dedicated to healthcare and health services.

“There’s not much to do in Amsterdam so it gives kids a chance to get off the streets and have fun,” Leon said.

There were 30 vendors at the event, including St. Mary’s Healthcare and Wal-Mart, who provided free vision screenings.

SummerFest, according to Fabrizia Rodriguez, director of community development initiative at Centro Civico, is a way for people in the community to know what resources are available to them, and for the providers to get to know the community as well.

Laurence E. Kelly, president and CEO of Nathan Littauer, said that being at the event was a way to spread information and help people figure out how to access healthcare.

“It’s nice to be out of the office and in the community,” said Janis Freeman, a nurse practitioner at Nathan Littauer. She was at the event sharing information about the threat of skin cancer.

The event, which lasted from 1 to 7 p.m., also included music and food, from empanadas to collard greens.

And of course, bouncey houses for the kids.

There was also a long line for free school supplies, since the school new year is right around the corner.

For Elvira Ramos, who was with her 9-year-old son, Christopher, the event was useful. Her nephew Brandon Ramos, and her mother-in-law, Gloria Vega, both visiting from New York, were also at the event.

Elvira Ramos had gone to almost every healthcare vendor and felt she could share the information she learned that day with other people she knew.

“They should do this more often,” she said.

It was Antonio Diaz’s first time at the event. He didn’t have a primary care provider but he spoke with those at the booth for Fidelis Care. He made an appointment for next week with Fidelis to discuss getting health insurance.

PHOTO: Children pose as future doctors in a cut-out by the Nathan Littauer Hospital at Central Civico’s Summerfest



Dr. Hanafi will practice in Mayfield and Gloversville

Pediatrician has relocated to the region.

Nathan Littauer announced today that a new pediatrician has joined the Nathan Littauer Family of Health Services. Walid Hanafi, MD will start seeing patients today, October 2, 2012. He is working in Littauer’s Mayfield offices Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays and at the Gloversville Primary Care Center on Fridays. “We are extremely fortunate to have found someone who has an exceptional medical pedigree and a passion for childhood health.” stated Laurence E. Kelly Hospital President and CEO. He added, “People have already commented on his warmth. I think parents and children will take to him instantly.”

Dr. Hanafi completed his pediatric residency training at the Metropolitan Hospital at New York Medical College. He has special interests in childhood obesity and diseases of the thyroid and endocrine system. He also is interested in newborn screenings, and childhood growth and development.

“Dr. Hanafi is a well-trained young pediatrician who has participated in research regarding endocrinology, diseases of thyroid, and growth disorders etc. With the growing need in these fields, our area is very fortunate to have his expertise.” stated Dr. Horowitz, Chief of Pediatrics for Littauer, adding, “He is very enthusiastic about getting started in pediatric practice and he will be a welcome addition to the pediatric staff at Nathan Littauer Hospital.”

Dr. Hanafi will practice in Mayfield and Gloversville

Dr. Hanafi (or Dr. Wally, as his patients call him) has participated in studies related to nutrition and health education for children who have diabetes and also in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. In his home country of Egypt, Dr. Hanafi participated in immunization programs delivered to children in rural areas. Dr. Hanafi is also well versed in treating critically-ill children as he spent part of his residency at the Maria Ferari Children’s Hospital treating critical and post-operative children.

Dr. Hanafi also speaks Spanish and Arabic. When Dr. Hanafi reflected about relocating here he explained, “I am really impressed with how friendly the people are here. I am excited to serve this community. I believe I will fit well in the community.” He concluded, “In the coming weeks and I will work hard to gain my colleagues’ and families’ trust.”