Emeregildo Clark (Emery as he prefers to be called), grew up about four blocks from where Cambria Heights Neighborhood Care stands today. “I played sports around here, rode my bike, and hung out at the supermarket just up the block from Neighborhood Care. I used to get babysat at the Jamaican bakery and did my homework in the basement. It’s a great neighborhood: very vibrant and colorful, with a lot of hard-working, family-oriented, middle-class people.”
After graduating from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village, Emery worked as a bank teller while getting a bachelors degree in Health Services Administration. One of his regular customers, an EmblemHealth employee, urged him to apply to the company. “When I learned about Neighborhood Care, I was so excited. I saw right away how it could make an impact on my community.”
Emery has watched Neighborhood Care flourish in Cambria Heights from its earliest days. “It’s been beautiful watching it grow. We get such nice people who walk in, a majority of them older adults. Many of them are looking for better ways of managing their diabetes. Some are facing mental health issues, so we’ve added a social worker who can help with that. Many people come in stressed out because caring for a family member is taking a huge toll on them.”
But Emery and his colleagues say they are getting back just as much as they’re giving. “Our clients are so wise and they’ve lived through so much. The respect we give them, they definitely appreciate it, and they spread their knowledge and their wisdom back to us.”
Emery is one of Cambia Heights most successful Pre-Diabetic Lifestyle Coach for the Diabetes Prevention Program and is a Diabetes Educator for the Diabetes Self-Management Program. The Diabetes Self-Management Program, developed by Stanford University’s Patient Education Research Center, is a six-week workshop that takes place once a week and is facilitated by trained peer leaders. This program is designed to help diabetics gain self-confidence in their ability to control their symptoms and better manage their health.
Emery is currently working towards his Masters in Public Health (MPH) at SUNY Downstate while working at EHNC.