Notes From The Frontline

April 5, 2019

Nasirah Monique Buissereth has fought on our frontlines in the US Navy. Today, she is on the frontlines in the healthcare industry and as a local community activist. Nasirah is a Registered Nurse at St. Joseph’s Health in Syracuse, New York, and is pursuing her degree at LeMoyne College to become a Nurse Practitioner . She is a staunch advocate for health, human justice, and diversity within our healthcare institutions. As a community advocate, Nasirah advocates for the underrepresented, impoverished, homeless populations, children, seniors, and all individuals who may face barriers to healthcare. She is cofounder of We Rise Above the Streets Inc.

By LaToya Jones, Healthcare Education Project Advocate for Central New York

1. What do you feel is the biggest specific threat to healthcare today?
Honestly, the continued legal attack from a group of lawmakers trying to remove Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act. Pulling healthcare out from under those who need it will be catastrophic for the poor. These people do not consider our patients, friends, and family members who depend on this coverage to live daily. This would be a loss for people who need it.

2. What type of advocacy work has your organization and others that you are a part of done in Central New York?
I am cofounder of We Rise Above the Streets Recovery Outreach. It’s a not-for-profit located in Syracuse. We deliver high energy messages that encourage people to live up to their full potential by breaking the cycles of homelessness and crime many face daily and unblocking the barriers that prevent individuals from living healthier lives. If those barriers remain, people will not be able to take care of their health.

3. Has the work been effective?
This organization’s work is necessary in advocating for our homeless and less fortunate friends. It gives them a voice and a place where they can tell their story. The work has united the community and the homeless population creating relationships between them. The homeless community have established trust with us. This has allowed us to work against the barriers that they may have to accessing healthcare, like affordable housing and establishing care with a doctor. But it also includes educating the population about healthcare disparities.

Last year, we hosted a cookout for the homeless where I organized a healthcare section for people with diabetes and other pre-existing conditions. One project was washing the feet of the homeless to cultivate a care area for healthy feet. I coordinated the washing and inspection of their feet with local volunteers. This was done for our homeless friends to ensure they did not have signs and symptoms that could be addressed before their conditions worsened.

4. What is the one thing you would say to the New York Congressional Delegation?
The number of people who have been insured in our state has grown every year. We thank our representatives for the healthcare funding that has been secured. I ask that they please support the Affordable Care Act and continue to ensure that New Yorkers have affordable healthcare. Our healthcare systems, such as nursing homes and hospitals, require continuous funding and no cuts, to serve the people in our communities and the patients in the institutions that we directly provide care to.