March 13: Mental Health at CHCC; Legal Advocacy in the Inner City (Faculty: Ari)

9-10:45 - Meet the Mental Health Services team at CHCC - 1st Floor Conference Room

10:50 - walk with Ari from CHCC to The Bronx Defenders, 860 Courtlandt Avenue Bronx, NY 10451 

11:00-12:30 - The Bronx Defenders with Robin Steinberg, Executive Director (718-838-7878); 

12:30 - Walk back to CHCC for afternoon clinic

For the first part of the morning of Tuesday, March 13, you will meet with Social Service and Mental Health Providers at CHCC, to discuss mental health and treatment issues in the Bronx, and resources available to your patients at CHCC. I hope you will have the opportunity to meet the CHCC social service staff (Jose Rodriguez, Maritza Casillas), Tony Stern, our onsite psychiatrist, and  Karinn Glover and Veronika Voyages, who provide mental health consultation and services to our HIV+ patients.


The second part of the morning will be a visit to The Bronx Defenders, a program that advocates for people in the inner city caught in the "revolving door" of the justice system. 

  • Info on the Bronx Defenders at their website here.
  • An article entitled "Beyond Lawyering" by Robin Steinberg, with whom we will be meeting. 
  • Two articles by Homer Venters, based on his work with Bronx Defenders, here and here.

Robin Steinberg, Founder, and Executive Director, will talk with us about how Bronx Defenders has transformed the role of the public defender into that of the holistic advocate, with a focus on extricating individuals from the cycle of involvement with police, courts, and jails.  She will also discuss the potential of medical/legal collaborations to make a difference in the lives of her clients/our patients.

The Bronx Defenders gives us our first chance this month to think about the profound and destructive role played by the correctional system in the inner city, and what should be done to  prevent (via thoughtful post-arrest advocacy) and ameliorate the damage, and prevent the cycle of re-incarceration. We will revisit this topic during our visits to Rikers Island on March 16, and the Osborne Association on March 19.

Some questions I would like you to think about (and ask Robin about) during our visit to the Bronx Defenders:

  1. Why are the jails and prisons filled with inner city, disadvantaged, minority group males- huge numbers African American and Latino men? 
  2. What impact does incarceration have on the individuals and their families? on a community like the South Bronx?
  3. Do you have patients whose physical or mental health or health care have been impacted by incarceration?
  4. How does it affect our patients' future lives and prospects?  
  5. How common is recidivism (the revolving jail door), and what can be done to reduce it?
  6. What are the public health effects of the high rates of incarceration in the United States?
  7. What are the barriers to health care pre- and post-incarceration? Do these become risk factors for continuing the cycle of incarceration?
  8. What are possible models to engage individuals in care? How can CHCC get involved?

From CHCC turn left and walk east on E 161st St;

Continue past Park Ave (on your left), over the railroad tracks, and Park Ave (on your right); 

Turn Right on Courtlandt Ave - - Bronx Defenders is ½ block down,

(Total Travel: 0.14 miles; 2 minutes)