Health Department Praises Bronx Community Groups for Uniting to Build a Healthier Bronx
March 16, 2016 – The Health Department, a member of #NOT62 Campaign for a Healthy Bronx, today praised 15 community group organizations for joining the coalition’s effort to improve the health status of the Bronx. Since its launch last year, the Campaign for a Healthy Bronx has worked to recruit the borough’s strongest leaders and advocates working to address social and health inequities and improve health outcomes. The announcement follows the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute 2016 County Health Rankings which ranks the Bronx as the county in the State of New York with the worst health outcomes.
“The Health Department, through its district public health offices and the upcoming Neighborhood Health Action Centers, is focused on creating and fostering partnerships that will help us improve the well-being of Bronx residents across all health indicators,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “By collaborating with residents, community groups, faith organizations, and elected officials we are taking the necessary steps to improve the Bronx community. The health challenges of Bronx underscores the monumental importance of creating public policies that aim to reduce health disparities.”
The #NOT62 Campaign was launched last year by the Bronx Borough President’s Office, Montefiore Health System, the Institute of Family Health and the City’s Health Department to improve strategic health outcomes for Bronx residents by 2020, by bringing together stakeholders from across multiple sectors within City government, the business community, healthcare providers and community-based/faith based organizations to address the determinants of health. More information about #NOT62 can be found here:
The 15 organizations joining the partnership are (in no particular order):
- Casita Maria Center for the Arts;
- Bronx Health Link;
- Urban Health Plan;
- Boricua College (Bronx Campus);
- The Bodega Association, USA;
- CS 55 Benjamin Franklin Elementary School;
- Mt. Zion C.M.E. Church;
- National Association of Postal Federal Employees (District Eight);
- Forward South Bronx Coalition;
- New Mount Zion Baptist Church;
- World of Life International Church;
- Bronx Community Health Network;
- Morris Heights Health Center;
- La Familia Verde Farmers’ Market;
- The New York Junior Tennis & Learning Center.
“It’s going to take time and effort on everyone’s part to make our borough a healthier place, but there is a full court press for a healthier Bronx thanks to the #Not62 Campaign,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Our office has been working with some of the largest stakeholders in New York City to approach our health issues from all angles. We have hosted a series of health screenings and events, to not only engage the community but to promote wellness. We have been avid supporters of projects such as working with local bodegas to offer healthier options and encouraging “going green” in our newer developments in an effort to improve the air quality.”
“While the overall Bronx health outcome ranking did not change from last year, the data demonstrates that we are making inroads to decrease disparities, and advance the long-term health of our community,” said Steven M. Safyer, M.D., president and CEO, Montefiore Health System. “We are grateful to have partners like Commissioner Bassett, Borough President Diaz and other elected officials, who like Montefiore, are building the infrastructure and increasing the number of resources to create a healthier Bronx. We are confident that the continued improvements in access to healthier foods, exercise environments, wellness prevention and primary care, as well as investments in education and employment opportunities will continue to lead the way toward better health for all.”
“As healthcare providers, it’s not enough to care for the sick. We must understand and address what is making people sick,” said Dr. Neil Calman, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health. “In the Bronx, that means creating access to healthier foods and places to exercise, improving housing, increasing access to education and jobs, reducing pollution, and addressing the stress of racism and poverty in people’s lives. Bronx Health REACH, and the other members of the #Not 62 campaign, are attempting to do just that.”
“If we are to change the trajectory of the health of Bronx residents we need to make this a broad based effort that addresses the root causes of our poor health standing. #Not62 – The Campaign for A Healthy Bronx seeks to do just that,” said Bronx Health REACH Director Charmaine Ruddock.
The Health Department has made closing health disparities a priority. Last year, the Department created the Center of Health Equity to amplify the agency work to reduce health disparities. Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio announced the opening of three new Neighborhood Health Action Centers, including one in the Bronx, to provide space for primary care and much-needed holistic non-clinical services in underutilized City-owned buildings located in communities with high rates of premature child and adult mortality. The Mayor also announced 14 new and expanded community health clinics that will significantly expand primary care services in areas of the city with unmet healthcare needs, including the Bronx.
In addition, the de Blasio administration has committed to increasing access to testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. On February 1st, the Health Department announced new expanded service hours for its STD clinics across the city. The NYC Plan to End the Epidemic includes a $23 million investment in Fiscal Year 2017 to increase HIV prevention and health care programming that will benefit nearly 200,000 New Yorkers per year when fully implemented.
Examples of Successful Bronx-based programs associated with #NOT62
Bronx Teen Connection program organizes Bronx teenagers in around goals of improving teen sexual and reproductive health and reducing teen pregnancy. Under the program, teens receive clear messages on evidence based sex education, access to teen-friendly clinic services, and dual protection promotion to prevent pregnancy and STIs among sexually active youth.
Bronx IHEAL Committee works with neighborhood partners to develop a common agenda around healthy choices and making it easier for communities to make healthier choices by improving access to nutrient foods and promoting opportunities for physical activity in neighborhoods.
Bronx Health REACH, a community coalition led by the Institute for Family Health, launched a healthy bodega training program in collaboration. To date more than 30 Bronx bodegas are participants and 20 more bodegas are scheduled to participate in 2017.
Montefiore’s School Health Program provides comprehensive preventive, primary, behavioral, and dental care to more than 30,000 children – helping them spend more time in school and achieve their full potential. Montefiore has long been a national leader in assuming responsibility for the quality and cost of care for more than 450,000 New Yorkers. Last year, Montefiore Health System launched its Healthy Store initiative by partnering with Bronx bodega owners to stock, promote and sell healthier foods. In addition, Montefiore is working with nearby schools and community organizations to encourage people to make healthier choices. These types of initiatives are increasing both the supply and demand for more nutritious products and thereby helping address important health issues like obesity and diabetes.