During a visit to Harlem Hospital Sunday, Mayor Eric Adams announced a new loan forgiveness initiative for healthcare workers who focus on healing those suffering from mental health issues.
Adams joined NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz on July 24 in gushing over an anonymous donor who gifted the city $1 million to reward first responders by forgiving their student loan debt. Since their education came with a hefty price tag of working in their communities, Adams’ initiative hopes to ease that burden so that they can concentrate on healing others rather than making ends meet.
“The behavioral health professionals in our public health system work tirelessly to support the most vulnerable New Yorkers living with mental illness and alcohol and substance use disorders,” Mayor Adams said. “Too often, these health care workers graduate with crippling debt and have no choice but to work in the private sector to pay off their bills. Especially at a time when the nation is facing a shortage of these lifesaving practitioners, and simultaneously facing an increased need for these professionals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this loan forgiveness program will help us attract and retain top talent to continue serving New Yorkers across the city. I’m grateful to the anonymous donor for this generous donation, and I encourage other businesses and individuals to chip in if they are able to support this important cause.”
Adams cited this program as an essential way to thank the men and women who cared for the city under two of its darkest years and encouraged those who once banged pots and pans out of their windows to show their thanks by ponying up money and donating to the Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program.
“We’re calling on all New Yorkers who at 7 p.m. every night during COVID we’re giving handshakes and giving claps to the success of our healthcare professionals. We’re calling on them now to go to the website and donate, we should continue to feed this donation for our mental health professionals,” Adams said. “I’m going to personally make a contribution. A small contribution from 8.8 million people becomes a big contribution.”
Adams lamented the debt which befalls those in medical school, stating that it reaches an average of $190,000, $80,000 for psychologists, $68,000 for social workers, and $56,000 for psychiatric nurses.
Adriana Rodriguez-Boseman, a clinical social worker at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health believes that this donation-led program will change the lives of her peers.
“Since very early in my educational trajectory, I stumbled upon a quote that read, ‘Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.’ This has been true to me, as my career as a clinical social worker with NYC Health + Hospitals has allowed me to fulfill my career objectives and gain tremendous pride in doing that as a public servant in my own city,” Rodriguez-Boseman said. “However, the cost of these professional goals has come with a steep price tag. The future is always uncertain, but loan forgiveness will make these dreams a reality.”
To make a donation, visit nychealthandhospitals.org/BH4NYC.