Photo Credit: Dr. Robin Baradarian
Dr. Robin Baradarian

Dr. Robin Baradarian, director of gastroenterology at Brooklyn Gastroenterology and Endoscopy in southern Brooklyn, recognizes the importance of gastrointestinal procedures. For the past 15 years, Baradarian has been giving his services for free to people who would otherwise be unable to afford them. If someone is in need of stomach medication and care, Baradarian wants to help. “I want people who are in need of a regular colonoscopy to know that help is there and they should not despair,” he said.

Although Baradarian has been offering services like this for years, he recently decided to do it on a larger scale to reach more people. His daughter, Sophia, recent graduate and salutatorian of the Yeshiva University High School for Girls, wanted to run a project that would serve the needs of the community. Together, they decided to expand Baradarian’s regular operation into a larger project that would reach the wider community. The project was dubbed “Col – Tov,” or “all good” in English, and was advertised in local synagogues and community centers. Since then, Dr. Baradarian has continued looking for ways to reach more people who are in need of gastrointestinal care.

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Baradarian describes what he does as a “higher calling,” as procedures like colonoscopies can potentially save lives. A colonoscopy is the procedure used to examine the appearance of a colon to observe symptoms that suggest colon diseases. A colonoscopy can detect inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, ulcers, and bleeding, and can also help prevent the development polyps and colon cancer.

Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult for people to afford gastrointestinal healthcare. Whether because of insurance or expensive copays, more and more people are unable to receive proper treatment and diagnoses for gastrointestinal problems. Recently, the Congressional Budget Office said that the Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act would increase the number of people without healthcare by 22 million by 2026.

“Enough is enough,” Baradarian says. “We need to help people. We are here to help each other.” Procedures like colonoscopies and endoscopies are not cheap, but Baradarian sees the value in saving a life. Although he is uncertain how many people have benefited from his services at this point, Baradarian ventures to guess it must be in the hundreds of thousands.

In his eyes, people should help each other in every way they can. His hope is that other doctors emulate his actions and succeed in helping everyone, insured or not. “If we all think the right way and try to give a little bit of ourselves,” he says, “we can do a lot of good.”

If you or someone you know is unable to afford gastrointestinal healthcare, please call 718-368-2960 and ask for Dr. Robin Baradarian.

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Shoshy Ciment is a student journalist based in Midtown Manhattan and is currently the senior news editor at the YU Commentator. You can follow her on twitter at @ShoshanaCiment.