If you ever visit the Eastmont Town Center located on 73rd and Bancroft, you are likely to see men and women strolling around amongst the crowds in single-colored medical scrubs, often in shades of blue, pink, and green. These of course are the medical workers of the Eastmont Wellness Center, many of whom are from Oakland and other parts of the Bay Area.
The Eastmont Town Center is a hub for residents in East Oakland. This former shopping mall once served as a place of commerce, but now offers job training, a public library, medical services, social assistance, empowerment programs, fast food restaurants, as well as a few retail shops.
“Most of the medical assistants at the Wellness Center work with patients in the Center for Elders Independence,” said Jasmin Husic, Administrative Assistant at the Eastmont Wellness Center Medical Records facility. Husic also said that medical assistants work within the medical team alongside dentists, mental health counselors, podiatrists, pharmacists, nutritionists, and many more.
Medical assistants in particular can be seen chatting with other people, having lunch at the town center cafe, running to assist a co-worker, or even just walking through the building with their headphones on during their 15-minute breaks.
Ganiya Hassan, a young medical assistant at the Eastmont Wellness Center, said, “Becoming a medical assistant helps me to extend a hand, and give back to the community.” Hassan’s medical career began with a one-year training program at Merritt College. He later received on-site job training at the Eastmont Wellness Center. His main tasks include making appointments, such as scheduling diagnostic tests like CT scans, mammograms, and ultrasound.
“In my free time (at the Eastmont Town Center) I try to catch up with follow-ups (recurring medical appointments),” said Hassan as he opened the door for an outgoing patient, “Also I read, and basically relax.”
When asked about her experience working as a medical assistant at Eastmont, Cheryl Buntyn said, “I just work, I put in a lot of work.”
And what of the obvious, often colorful scrubs that identify these medical workers? As it turns out, acquiring these uniforms is as simple for everyone else as it is for the workers. Medical Assistant Angela Bonner said that workers can get their scrubs from any place that sells them.
“You can even get them at (Eastmont’s) DD’s Discounts department store for about six or seven dollars,” said Bonner.