Early on, Stephane Labossiere (MSHCM 2018) knew he wanted to enter the health care field. Now, less than two years after graduating from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School with an MS in Health Care Management, he finds himself a foot soldier in the fight against COVID-19 in New York City, the nation’s epicenter of the pandemic.
Labossiere, who also holds a Master of Science in Public Health and Behavioral Sciences from Columbia University, is a community outreach coordinator with the New York Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). Additionally, he is a geriatric research assistant at Community Healthcare Network (CNH), also in New York City.
“Weekly, I reach out to many nonprofit organizations and I am responsible for conducting a COVID-19 webinar,” said Labossiere, describing his work with MOIA. I update constituents on how the pandemic has impacted our programs, and what ramifications they can expect. Additionally, I share a presentation on the current resources [available to underserved individuals].”
Those resources, extremely important before the pandemic, are now absolutely critical for the health and safety of thousands of New Yorkers, whose cases and needs are in danger of falling through the cracks of traditional services. They include, but are not limited to, employment resources, food assistance, health and medical assistance, financial assistance, rent arrears, housing and public assistance, and emotional support and spiritual care.
In addition, Labossiere continues to reach out to immigrants who did not receive a stimulus payment as part of the comprehensive Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recently passed by Congress, even though many file annual tax returns. “I am currently taking their information and referring them to the Open Society Foundation for assistance,” he explains.
“To date, I am proud to say that I have helped hundreds of coronavirus patients, in addition to many others, through these resources,” said Labossiere, whose research interests include health care quality measurement and improvement, health policy analysis, and the development and assessment of materials and public health interventions.
Labossiere’s passion for public health originally stems from personal tragedy. When he was 12 years old, his mother succumbed to a serious illness in their native Haiti, due in part to a lack of sophisticated medical resources. He was thus introduced at an early age to the scourge of health care disparities and the often tragic results.