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Gift Bags of Hope: Family Medicine distributes essentials to patients impacted by COVID-19

Written by Vina Cristobal
Featured photo: Nicole Boyer and Camlyn Masuda load up a patient’s truck with gift bags for his family. Vina Cristobal photo.

University Health Partners of Hawaii (UHP) Family Medicine clinic demonstrated its mission of responding to community needs through a selfless act of giving. On August 26, gift bags full of essential goods were distributed to patients of the new University Health Partners of Hawaii (UHP) Family Medicine clinic in Aiea. The drive-by gift bag distribution was the clinic’s way of providing hope for patients that were greatly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Gift bags were purchased through funds from the Community Change Leadership Network and an anonymous donation. UHP Family Medicine Medical Director Dr. Robert Carlisle called the gift bag distribution a “nice means of demonstrating the return on investment by UH and the State of Hawaii in our department.”

The effort was spearheaded by the clinic’s pharmacist, Dr. Camlyn Masuda, and Community Health Navigator Nicole Boyer. The gift bag distribution took place outside of the Pali Momi Outpatient Center, which hosts the Family Medicine clinic.

“The patients were really grateful that their doctor’s office would be helping out during this difficult time,” said Boyer. “On the day of the gift bag distribution, I had one family with five kids, a single mother with three kids and a single mother. Everyone’s struggling during this pandemic, but they were very happy and felt appreciated that people in their community are thinking of them and are willing to help them.” 

The gift bags included canned chicken, tuna, green beans, hand sanitizers, reusable cloth masks, small flashlights embossed with the UHP logo, and water bottles. Dr. Chien-Wen Tseng, one of the Family Medicine physicians that practice in the clinic, donated household items and canned goods for distribution to patients.

On the day of the gift bag distribution, 44 out of the 100 gift bags were given away. Dr. Masuda and Boyer reported that there were patients that came before the allotted time frame to eagerly receive their gift bags. The staff made personal deliveries to patients who were unable to come to the drive-by.  

“For me, it was a rewarding experience to serve my community and be able to help during these unprecedented times,” Boyer added. “[It was great] to see how happy our patients were to receive this gift bag.”

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