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Montefiore Hosts Ebola Town Hall Meeting In Mount Vernon

Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson; Dr. Brooke Balchan, medical director, Mount Vernon City School District; Dr. Debra Spicehandler, infectious disease specialist, Mark Fang, executive director Westchester Human Rights Commission; Ambassador Amadu Koroma.
Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson; Dr. Brooke Balchan, medical director, Mount Vernon City School District; Dr. Debra Spicehandler, infectious disease specialist, Mark Fang, executive director Westchester Human Rights Commission; Ambassador Amadu Koroma. Photo Credit:

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – In an effort to ease the fears of Mount Vernon residents following the latest worldwide Ebola scare, medical experts joined elected officials and physicians at Montefiore to clear up any misconceptions that locals may have about the disease.

Montefiore hosted a special town hall style meeting on Wednesday night, led by Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who was joined on a panel by members of the Westchester Human Rights Commission, officials from Montefiore Health System and international diplomats to answer questions and educate the public about Ebola.

Hassell-Thompson noted that in order to fight the disease and empathize with those suffering from it, the public must be well informed.

“The purpose (of the meeting) is for residents of Mount Vernon to hear about the Ebola disease from recognized medical experts who specialize in the field of infections disease control, and to clarify any misunderstandings that may have been perpetrated,” she said. “As a community, we must ensure that the public is properly informed of the modes of transmission, the safety measures being taken and the resources available.”

“This will then reduce the level of fear that accompanies this dreaded disease, and foster compassion and understanding of those who are infected.”

Montefiore is one of 10 hospitals throughout the state that has been designated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to handle patients with Ebola. For months, the facilities have been being prepared and the staff trained in the event of a case in Westchester.

Officials at Montefiore also noted that the likelihood of an Ebola outbreak domestically is extremely unlikely, though they will be prepared if someone returning from West Africa brings the infection with them.

“Montefiore, with its academic partner, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has nationally recognized expertise in Ebola research and treating infectious disease,” Andrew Racine, the chief medical officer at Montefiore said. “We are committed to providing world class, compassionate care if that need arises, and to protecting the health and well being of our communities.’

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