Classroom work for teen

Building a healthier future for New York City’s students

In the heart of New York City, an innovative collaboration flourishes, embodying the essence of community and wellness. The Floating Hospital, a beacon of hope and health since its inception in 1866, has forged an ongoing partnership with the New York City Department of Education (DOE). This alliance is dedicated to nurturing the minds and bodies of students from kindergarten through 12th grade, ensuring a foundation built on health, wellness, and emotional resilience.

A Legacy of learning and health

Every day, in classrooms across the city, The Floating Hospital’s certified health educators lead engaging workshops. These sessions, tailored meticulously for each age group, cover an expansive range of topics—from personal hygiene and social-emotional skills to more complex topics like puberty, consent and substance abuse. The curriculum, offered in both English and Spanish, underscores the organization’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

However, the relationship’s impact goes beyond educational workshops. It extends a lifeline to the city’s most vulnerable populations, including 25,000 students living in family homeless shelters, domestic violence safe houses or in precarious housing situations. The Floating Hospital’s comprehensive healthcare services ensure that these students, often invisible to the system, receive the care and attention they deserve.

DOE workshop on peer pressure

Voices of hope and healing

Iván Romero, Director of Families in Temporary Housing at The Floating Hospital, sheds light on the profound needs of these students. Romero highlights the “invisibility” many families face, living in liminal spaces and reluctant to seek help.

“There are those children whose families are denominated ‘doubled up’’ that live with relatives or with another family, in a small room or in a living room. For one reason or another, these families do not want to register in a homeless shelter, so they do not receive city services. The Floating Hospital reaches out to them and connects the entire family with quality health services,” Romero explains, offering a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of reaching underserved communities.

Jenny E. Gomez, Students in Temporary Housing Community Coordinator with the DOE, attests to the transformational impact of The Floating Hospital’s work.

“The families are so scared before receiving medical services. After they return, it makes me so happy when they tell me how wonderful the staff at The Floating Hospital is, starting with the drivers that pick them up.”
Jenny E. Gomez, Students in Temporary Housing Community Coordinator

Gomez’s experience highlights the profound difference compassionate care can make, underscoring the care and compassion that defines our patient interactions.

Classroom setting at Women's Wellness event

Bridging gaps, building futures

Dr. Meghan Miller, Director of Health Education at The Floating Hospital, emphasizes the breadth and depth of our educational initiatives. “From virtual parenting workshops to interactive sessions on puberty and beyond, we aim to empower, educate and inspire.“ Our workshops serve as vital touchpoints, offering knowledge and support to students and parents alike.

A tradition of care, a promising future

From its origins as a floating barge offering healthcare, a nutritious meal and educational entertainment (and an onboard library!) to today’s robust academic curricula, The Floating Hospital remains steadfast in its mission to reach everyone who needs our care. Our collaboration with the DOE is more than a partnership; it’s a promise to the children of New York City—a promise of a healthier, brighter future.

As The Floating Hospital continues to weave health and wellness into the fabric of New York City’s communities, its legacy of care and compassion endures, inspiring a new generation to reach their highest potential.

This post is featured in our monthly newsletter from March 2024.

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The Floating Hospital provides high-quality healthcare to anyone who needs it regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, immigration or insurance status, or the ability to pay. By providing unrestricted medical care in tandem with health education and social support to vulnerable New York City families, The Floating Hospital aims to ensure those most in need have the ability to thrive, not just survive.


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