During a visit to the Harlem Hospital on Sunday, Mayor Eric Adams announced a new loan forgiveness initiative for healthcare workers who focus on healing people with mental health issues.
Adams joined NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz on July 24 in rushing an anonymous donor who offered the city $1 million to reward first responders by canceling their debt of student loan. Since their upbringing has taken a toll on working in their communities, Adams’ initiative hopes to ease that burden so they can focus on healing others rather than making ends meet.
“Behavioral health professionals in our public health system work tirelessly to support the most vulnerable New Yorkers living with mental illness and substance use and alcohol disorders,” Mayor Adams said. “Too often, these healthcare workers graduate with crushing debt and have no choice but to work in the private sector to pay their bills. Especially at a time when the nation is facing a shortage of these life-saving practitioners, and simultaneously facing an increased need for these professionals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this loan forgiveness program will help us to attract and retain top talent to continue serving New Yorkers. Through the city. I am grateful to the anonymous donor for this generous donation, and I encourage other companies and individuals to participate if they are able to support this important cause.
Adams cited the program as a vital way to thank the men and women who looked after the city during two of its darkest years and encouraged those who have already blown pots and pans out of their windows to show their thanks by contributing money and donating to the Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program.
“We call on all New Yorkers who, at 7 p.m. every night during COVID, we shake hands and applaud the success of our healthcare professionals. We are now calling on them to go to the website and donate, we should continue to nurture this donation for our mental health professionals,” Adams said. “I will personally make my contribution. A small contribution of 8.8 million people becomes a large contribution.
Adams lamented the debt that falls on medical students, saying it averages $190,000, $80,000 for psychologists, $68,000 for social workers and $56,000 for psychiatric nurses.
Adriana Rodriguez-Boseman, clinical social worker at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, believes this donation-driven program will change the lives of her peers.
“From the very beginning of my school career, I came across a quote that said, ‘Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.’ This has been true for me, as my career as a clinical social worker with NYC Health + Hospitals has allowed me to achieve my career goals and to be immensely proud to do so as a public servant in my own city” , Rodriguez-Boseman said, “However, with the cost of these professional lenses came a steep price tag. The future is always uncertain, but loan forgiveness will make those dreams come true.
To donate, visit nychealthandhospitals.org/BH4NYC.