About five years ago, he came to the United States and began working on a volunteer basis for “Aid for AIDS,” where he served the Latin community in New York. As he relates, there were many HIV-positive illegal immigrants who were not receiving treatment and his role was to establish a structure to reach out to this patient population. The organization “had a good heart,” he says, but did not know how to organize their outreach. Dr. Aparicio also served as a mediator between HIV specialists in the United States and doctors in Latin America to help the latter evaluate and improve their treatment regimens.
Later working with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Dr. Aparicio consulted with attorneys and helped to write affidavits for Latin American residents undergoing HIV treatment, who were being threatened with deportation. “We were able to get asylum for many of them,” he says, “because if they were sent back, they would be persecuted and stigmatized and not be able to continue their treatment.”
At present, Dr. Aparicio works for the Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. His role has been to develop a program to dispense antibiotics with more of a public health interest in mind. A major problem facing the hospital, he explains, is the over- prescription of antibiotics, which not only is expensive, but creates a resistance to the drugs, making them ineffective when truly needed.
In addition, he is teaching Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) to medical residents at Lutheran Medical, which he learned while in the MPH program at HMO.
The COPC program, which tailors health care to the particular needs of the specific community, was created at HMO, first used in South Africa, and later exported to the United States, where Dr. Aparicio says, “it became a big hit.” Dr. Aparicio keeps in touch with the HMO professors who were in charge of the COPC program for international students.
Today, Dr. Aparicio’s main goal remains international in scope: to help the developing world. Hadassah International takes pride in knowing that Hadassah gave him the foundation and intellectual tools for his medical journey in the field of public health.