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Dr. Ramon Tallaj: Lifelong Advocacy for Health and Community Development

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Born in Santiago de Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, on January 25, 1956, Dr. Ramon Tallaj has since embarked on a life path that exemplifies relentless dedication to public health and community service. His journey began in the Dominican Republic, where he completed his medical studies at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Enriquez Ureña (UNPHU), graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1981.Throughout his career in the Dominican Republic, Dr. Tallaj served in various key roles, including Under Secretary of Public Health and Social Service and Medical Director of the Social Security and Welfare Institute. Notably, he was a link between the Dominican Government and the Catholic Church of New York City, contributing to the development of significant social programs.

Moving to the United States in 1993, Dr. Tallaj furthered his medical expertise at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. Upon receiving his American Board of Internal Medicine Certification, he began serving New York City’s Hispanic immigrant communities, providing much-needed medical services. In 1997, he established his private practice in Washington Heights, continuing his work in community care.

However, his most significant contribution came in 2015,  when he founded the organization of SOMOS Community Care. This culturally competent physician-led network serves over a million Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries in New York City’s immigrant communities. Dr. Tallaj’s innovative approach to healthcare has proven successful, saving New York taxpayers tens of millions of dollars by reducing  preventable hospital readmissions  by 22%.

Dr. Tallaj’s commitment to health equity became even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the disproportionate impact on New York’s inner cities, he orchestrated the operation of over 125 trilingual COVID-19 sites, providing over 1 million in free testing and health education. This humanitarian effort extended to the administration of millions of vaccines and the distribution of over 2 million meals to food-insecure neighborhoods while still offering accessible healthcare amidst a medical crisis.

In addition to his healthcare endeavors, Dr. Tallaj’s compassion extends into other sectors of community service. He has participated in a range of institutions dedicated to improving New York City’s community members’ lives. He executive produced the award winning medical documentary titled  “Undivided Pandemic With A Purpose” and also sponsored a documentary produced by Rome Reports, illuminating the unseen aspects of Pope Francis’s life titled “Francis! The Pope of Surprises”  Last month, the esteemed Dominican doctor, Ramón Tallaj, received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal, one of the highest awards granted by the Vatican. This prestigious recognition was bestowed by the Pope himself, acknowledging Dr. Tallaj’s unwavering dedication to the Roman Catholic Church.

In 2022, Dr. Tallaj was appointed as co-chairman of New York City’s Mayor Eric Adam’s COVID-19 Recovery Roundtable and Health Equity Task Force. His advice on comprehensive healthcare access and equity policies will be invaluable in rebuilding New York City’s post-pandemic economy.

Dr. Ramon Tallaj’s career epitomizes an unwavering commitment to public health and community service, setting an inspiring example for medical professionals worldwide. His dedication to improving the health outcomes of the most vulnerable communities serves as a testament to the incredible impact of a life devoted to service. His journey serves as a beacon of hope, highlighting the potential that lies in coupling medical expertise with compassionate service.


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