Institute staff help artists and musicians access health care at Kingston’s O+ Festival

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Sophia Guida

Institute staff help artists and musicians access health care at Kingston’s O+ Festival

October 28, 2021

From October 8-10, Institute for Family Health staff and providers joined in a gathering of artists, musicians and wellness practitioners for the O+ Festival, where members of Kingston’s arts community can access quality health care, including free medical consultations, dental care and massage therapy. Founded in 2010 by a group of physicians, dentists and artist-activists, the O+ Festival is an outdoor event where members of the arts and culture community can share their work with the public in exchange for health and wellness services. In addition to providing direct services, the Institute was one of the financial sponsors of this years’ festival, along with several other organizations.

Institute staff and providers offered care as part of the Artists’ Clinic, which served 150 people. Outreach staff also provided information about Institute health centers, as well as more targeted services like the Gender Wellness Clinic.

Dr. Mark Josefski, a longtime supporter of the O+ Festival, worked closely with Dr. Sadia Hussein and Dr. Brittany Farrow to organize the Artists’ Clinic with Institute staff and current resident physicians from the Kingston Family Health Center. Dr. Hussein and Dr. Farrow also organized a panel on health and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, which included Patricia Trippe, MHC-LP, Dr. Anita Venkatesan, Dr. Aparna Panja, and Care Management Coordinator Alexandra Decker.

“In my years of providing care and outreach at the O+ Festival, I am always proud to see how our efforts translate into greater accessibility,” said Dr. Josefski. “Events like the O+ Festival allow us to embed in the community meet people where they are, and we find that once the participants learn that we will care for them even if they don’t have insurance, then they are more willing to seek us out when they need us. The O+ Festival is also a great opportunity for our family medicine residents to serve in a community setting and connect with individuals who then become patients.”

Artists, musicians and all community members can access affordable health care, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay, throughout the year at any of the Institute’s community health centers in the Mid-Hudson Valley.