To help address the disproportionate impact COVID-19 had on underserved communities, the Brigham established a series of community-based testing sites in Dorchester, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain and Roxbury. Staff who supported these sites share their reflections below.

Natasha Amaro“I grew up in Dorchester and live in Hyde Park. These were my neighbors. Going into this, I knew I would be able to help, but what I didn’t know was how much the patients would help me. It was such an amazing experience to be a part of this team. I was able to think less of how COVID-19 could affect me and instead put all my energy into making sure these people were safe. Every day I went home exhausted, but every morning I looked forward to being in the communities.

Now that I have had time to reflect on that experience, I feel as if it’s changed me and my outlook on life. Day after day, people were so thankful to us for being there. At first, I didn’t understand what the big deal was, since I felt like I was just doing my job. But later a patient told me that he didn’t think anyone would care about helping people in his community. He thanked me for caring and for being there. He was emotional when he spoke to me and prayed for us all. He is someone I will never forget.”

— Natasha Amaro, CST, Surgical Technologist, Endoscopy, Brigham and Women’s Health Care Center at Chestnut Hill (850 Boylston St.)

Joe Tulip“Working at the testing sites has taught me about the resiliency and versatility of the Brigham in order to rapidly respond to our patients’ needs. I have been working in this role for years, and it was not until the pandemic that I found that there was this much system-wide support around addressing patients’ resource needs. I look forward to continue the work to address these inequities and am excited to hear about more initiatives that Brigham will offer to patients in the future!”

— Joe Tulip, Patient Navigator, Emergency Department Care Continuum Management

Alyson Bracken“It was a great experience and so important for our institution to be out in the communities it serves.  I was impressed by the lack of barriers to testing and having that paired with services like food distribution and social determinants of health was so important in these communities. Patients were very appreciative of having the testing in their neighborhoods. I realized how important it is to work as a team through such a crisis to make an impact and continue this in the future.”

— Alyson Bracken, PA-C, Associate Chief PA, Primary Care; Physician Assistant, Faulkner Community Physicians at West Roxbury

Carlos Hernandez“It was such an honor to work alongside wonderful people doing important work! Being able to serve and help patients in the communities where they really need the help was so great. I have always felt strongly about health equity, so being able to directly reach patients in underserved communities is something I hope to continue to do as I work at the Brigham.”

— Carlos Hernandez, Emergency Department Patient Navigator, Care Continuum Management


Patricia Gonzalez“I feel extremely proud to work for an organization that is providing critical support for individuals and families in a such a great time of need. In speaking with individuals from all different areas of Boston during these past weeks, the service that Brigham Health provides through our testing sites has been a true blessing, including providing families access to necessities such as food and care kits. My leadership team has done an amazing job to coordinate and organize these testing sites. They have put in endless hours to make these sites be so effective in reaching community members in need.”

— Patricia Gonzalez, Community Health Worker, Phyllis Jen Center for Primary Care

Cori Kostick“It is amazing to see how much you can accomplish in a parking lot! We were able to test hundreds of people and give people food and much-needed masks and hand sanitizer. Patients were so appreciative. I was proud to be a part of the community testing team and represent BWH.”

— Cori Kostick, PA-C, Physician Assistant, Primary Care


Sandra Armand“It was the most rewarding experience ever. I went to work each day not knowing what to expect but knowing we all worked as a team. We served a very diverse population with kindness, compassion and understanding. I’m sure patients were scared to be tested — scared of not knowing what to expect or what was next to come. I felt that, and as a health care worker I had the same feelings at times, but I was there to serve a purpose, be there for the people in the community and give them hope that it will be OK and we were there for them.”

— Sandra Armand, Medical Assistant

Kelly Fanning“The community-based testing model was constantly evolving to meet the needs of the community from Hyde Park to Roxbury to Dorchester. I was impressed by Brigham’s commitment to meet community members where they were. The Brigham team that delivered this service impressed me in more ways than I can count. They had not worked together prior to this, but they came together and were the epitome of teamwork! Every day, they showed up ready to adapt to the community they were in and give 110 percent to the physical and emotional work ahead of them. I think the community members felt that dedication and teamwork.”

— Kelly Fanning, MBA, Vice President, Ambulatory Services & Patient Experience