A Telehealth Testimony


Earlier this year, as COVID-19 required Esperanza Health Center to transition to
mostly telehealth remote patient visits, a
family in distress was quickly comforted
by their 12-month old child’s medical
provider who came across an urgent
message on her screen about an emerging
hive-like rash that the child had developed.

EHC Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Kerith
Duggan, CRNP, MSN, began to assess
the child. She made a telehealth call with
the parents and asked some screening
Kerith Duggan, CRNP, MSN, Pediatric
Nurse Practitioner questions in order to determine the cause of the child’s condition.

Kerith Duggan, CRNP, MSN, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

“The parents picked up right away and I was able to assess the baby and ensure she wasn’t having an anaphylactic reaction,” says Kerith. “It was great to be able to assess the patient quickly and brainstorm with the parents while they were still at home as to what may have caused the hives.”

As the family and Kerith discussed the situation, they shared that as the child slept, the mother made some peanut butter for her to try for the first time. This involved roasting the peanuts before blending them, resulting in a strong peanut smell in the home, ultimately causing the rash.

The family was overwhelmed with gratitude by the immediate response from their child’s provider and the convenience of our telehealth tool. While Esperanza has since transitioned to seeing the majority of patients onsite at our three locations, we continue to make telehealth visits available and have the capability to increase its use if needed again.

EHC Welcome Dr. Kristopher Ahn

Dr. Kristopher Ahn, MD, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Physician

Last month, Esperanza’s newest medical
provider, Kristopher Ahn, MD, joined our
clinical team as an Internal Medicine and
Pediatrics Physician.

Dr. Ahn, a New York native, earned a bachelorof science degree at Cornell University where he studied as a Biology and Society major, and received his doctor of medicine degree from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine in Brooklyn, NY in May of 2016.

Kristopher’s passion is fueled by the words of Christ in Matthew 25:34-40, and witnessing first-hand the disparities in care. “I chose to pursue medicine out of a calling to serve my neighbors through the opportunities that God has given me. I wanted to be in a career that was focused on working with underserved populations in some capacity but I was debating whether to enter ministry or to pursue some service oriented career.”

Dr. Ahn learned about Esperanza by word of mouth as he studied at SUNY Downstate College. His heart was deeply moved by the ministry and its impact in the healthcare sphere. “A lot of my friends attended SMI (Summer Medical Institute), and they shared about their experiences. Esperanza Health Center was the first time I had considered being able to more explicitly share faith and prayer with patients in a medical setting.”

A fun fact about Kristopher as he attended UTHealth McGovern Medical School and lived in Houston, is his claim that everything is bigger in Texas including the food portions—he believes his belt size also became Texas-sized. A message for future patients of Dr. Ahn is: that he hopes to provide care that “addresses health needs excellently while also allowing people to feel heard in a way that also reflects Christ’s love.”

The Summer Medical Institute Flourishes

In our July eNews, we shared how SMI and MCO board members faced the difficult decision of whether to permit the program to continue, or to go on hiatus for the summer of 2020.

The 11th consecutive SMI outreach in partnership with Esperanza was deemed safe for student applicants to participate in a modified two-week program that did not include community outreach and instead focused on much-needed administrative support. As it turned out, God blessed this year’s SMI beyond expectations.

Despite being on track for possibly their largest summer outreach in the history of SMI, because of COVID the program was restricted to 15 students who were in-state residents. Although the numbers were limited by necessity, the students accomplished much during their two weeks through an enthusiastic work ethic and teamwork.

  • The Portal and Missed Registration Teams made a total of 716 calls, successfully reaching 275 individuals to update records and newly enrolled 67 patients in the Esperanza Patient Portal.
  • Another team completed a total of 140 Patient Satisfaction Surveys.
  • The Social Determinants of Health Team attempted a total of 231 surveys and completed 194.
  • Students prayed with over 180 people, and prayed with one person to receive Christ.

*Stats provided by SMI’s 2020 Summary Report*

Reflected J. Cuevas, a pre-med student who participated: “SMI challenged so many of my previously held ideas about working as a Christian healthcare professional in the city. I am so grateful for the staf , speakers, and patients who taught me more about what Christ-centered healthcare should look like and how it can create lasting, positive impacts on a community.”

Spiritual development was a significant part of the students’ experiences during their two weeks. A variety of in-person and remote small group discussions focused on the life of Jonah. The students welcomed guest speakers who taught on the Bible basics of evangelism, shared unique experiences surrounding Puerto Rican culture, and heard a motivating testimony from a New York physician.

EHC Receives Health Center Quality Leader Award

For the third consecutive year , Esperanza Health Center has received the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Center Quality Leader award, ranking among the top 30 percent of health centers nationally in 2019 on a range of clinical quality measures.

Overall, Esperanza received Quality Improvement Awards in six of eight possible categories. According to HRSA, “The Quality Improvement Awards (QIA) recognize the highest performing health centers nationwide as well as those health centers that have made significant quality improvement gains from the previous year.”

These awards reflect the dedication and teamwork among our clinical providers and staff in providing excellent patient care

Thanks for your gifts that help us to provide excellent, compassionate care and health resources for our patients and community members. We are grateful for your partnership with us!

Join the Esperanza Team!

We are open for business and actively hiring qualified professionals who seek to share in our mission to provide Christ-centered, quality health care services. Please visit our Career Center where you can view every open position up to date, and apply online!

Highlighted below are some of our top priority hiring opportunities:


Director of Human Resources
This position is responsible for directing HR functions carried out by the HR
director and the HR team, in collaboration with the Operations Director,
Finance Director, and Executive Director, as appropriate. HR functions include
payroll and time and attendance, employee recruitment, hiring, and
onboarding; employee performance evaluation cycle, employee accountability
and discipline, training and professional development, benefits, and volunteer
training and development.


Director of IT
The Director of IT maintains information technology strategies by managing
staff; researching and implementing technological strategic solutions; is
responsible for the overall planning, organizing, and execution of all IT
functions of Esperanza Health Center. This includes directing all IT operations
to meet employee and patient requirements as well as the support and
maintenance of existing applications and development of new technical


Associate Director of Clinical IT
The Associate Director of Clinical IT will serve as a member of the Information
Technology department supporting the day-to-day operations of Esperanza
Health Center’s Clinical IT services. This includes supervising staff, supporting
clinical users, and collaborating with multiple departments to improve the
performance and usability of our clinical applications (Centricity EMR,
EZAccess patient portal, and supporting interfaces). The Associate Director of
Clinical IT will marshal IT resources to meet immediate needs of clinical
operations, and innovate to support future needs.


Prevention Specialist
The Prevention Specialist visits with patients during appointments and by
phone, collaboratively assessing risk factors for HIV infection associated with
sexual and drug use behaviors, and developing multi-faceted risk reduction
strategies consistent with patient particulars and readiness, while honoring the
dignity of each patient as made in God’s image. The Prevention Specialist
facilitates HIV and STD testing desired by the patient, assisting with
communicating results, and linking HIV positive patients to care.