LEARN It! Challenge 18 of 24
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The Ground Zero Clinic: A look back in 2021

Looking Back on the Ground Zero Clinic

It’s late August, 2021. These are my comments regarding the Ground Zero Clinic in Part One.

Here is a bit of an update. You know when we responded and showed up, there was no plan. It was very chaotic. Dr. Arthur Roberts had done the best he could to get a group together and I helped him coordinate and organize along with many others, a series of volunteers that showed up and did what they needed to do. We pulled together providing services and documentation, and in retrospect probably broke many rules regarding HIPAA and, licensure, but people were sick. They asked for help, and they were willing to get it. We did something kind of primitive at the time with telemedicine, with using computer-based diagnostics, with spreadsheet database, creating a registry. And we kind of did it literally on the back of, pieces of paper, that we took from the NYPD, education area. We just used the backs of pieces of paper and drew out and did our own questionnaires. We improvised, adapted, and overcame obstacles. We did the best we could. And when the clinic time was up, we handed what was to be a part of the World Trade Center Registry off to experts who are then ready to deal with it. The bureaucracy didn’t let the big institution step in the way the volunteers quickly reacted. It’s too bad because they had more expertise than we had. Now, the World Trade Center Registry is tracking the database of about 80,000 people after 911. And I’m proud to say that their healthcare is funded and the long term outcomes are being analyzed by things like artificial intelligence.  Things that we pioneered at Ground Zero, like telemedicine are being used, worldwide to help people in our next crisis


In this COVID crisis with COVID, it’s just like 911 guys.

Local people have to step up and help volunteer to get the masks in place.  We need to have education happen to staff the immunization clinics and to be the second responders. That’s what we were. We weren’t the first responders. We weren’t the heroes, we’re the second responders, supporting the first responders, who are the heroes in my mind.

We need to a be ready to be the first or second responders and show up and volunteer as needed.  We need to be as trained as soon as possible before that happens, so that we don’t become someone slows down the clinic or slows down the event, but we’re the ones that can help make it happen. We need to step into leadership and be able to communicate across all ethnicities, potentially multiple languages.  We need to react in tough situations, and we need to get along.   Step up and work together. We did our activities, and we did the best we could with what we knew.

Now we have access to each other, through the internet and other mechanisms, to get experts from anywhere in the world to help with a local situation. It, has been proven by many innovative people. bringing in the experts from around the world can help solve a problem locally. You don’t have to look at a disaster overseas or far away.  and just say, I can’t do anything. There’s a lot you can do.  Think about those nearest you, that you can help on a local basis as the first place to start. Be alert for opportunities to step in on a more regional, national, or international level. Should there be a need, take the risks, innovate, improvise, adapt, and overcome if disaster hits you. And while you’re at it, get prepared, learn first aid and learn the other tools of the trade is necessary. Going forward, be able to be street smart and able to help others, and recognize when others need help.