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NYAM's Health Policy team works to improve public health by bringing together researchers, policymakers, community members, and key stakeholders to develop evidence-based solutions to the root causes of poor health outcomes. NYAM develops and supports policies and programs that promote healthy aging, prevent chronic disease and promote health, and reduce health disparities in New York City and across New York State. Much of our policy work focuses on aligning the actions of communities, government, and leaders from multiple sectors to transform the places where we live, work, and play into environments that promote health.
New York City is home to more than one million people over 65. By 2030, this number is expected to increase by 50%—the most rapid increase in history. The city’s older population is one of the most diverse in the world, presenting a range of challenges, skills, and life experience unlike anywhere else. To prepare for this transformation, The Office of the Mayor, the New York City Council, and the New York Academy of Medicine partner to create Age-friendly NYC. Advised by the public-private partnership Commission on an Age-friendly NYC, Age-friendly NYC challenges all sectors of the city to reimagine aging and consider how best to serve and benefit from this growing population.
Age-friendly NYC Accomplishments
Age-friendly NYC, in partnership with programs including City Bench, Senior Swim, Market Ride, and Safe Streets for Seniors, has catalyzed thousands of changes throughout the city since 2008 in the areas of transportation, public safety, recreation, and more. View the most recent reports on the accomplishments of Age-friendly NYC Commission Initiatives and New York City’s 59 Age-friendly Initiatives.
National and Global Age-friendly Cities
In 2013, the International Federation on Ageing named Age-friendly NYC the Best Existing Age-friendly Initiative in the World. NYAM has provided strategic assistance to more than 50 cities around the world in developing their own age-friendly initiatives. The Age-friendly NYC initiative is a part of the World Health Organization’s global Age-friendly Cities project.
Age Smart Employer Awards
The Age Smart Employer Awards is an initiative of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center and NYAM, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. These awards, now in their second year, honor New York City employers who value workers of all ages. The Age Smart Employer Awards create healthy competition and inspire others to think creatively about how their businesses can make the most of older employees to meet business needs while enabling older adults to stay engaged and productive.
NYAM is committed to advancing the health of individuals and communities through innovative prevention initiatives across New York State, nationally, and globally. NYAM houses DASH-NY, New York’s obesity prevention coalition and policy center funded by the New York State Department of Health. The center focuses on policy, systems, and environmental changes that will lead to equitable community environments where healthy eating, active living, and access to preventive health care services are a reality for all New Yorkers. NYAM was also a key partner in the development of the New York State Prevention Agenda, the blueprint for state and local action to improve the health of New Yorkers and reduce health disparities.
Designing a Strong and Healthy New York
DASH-NY convenes partners from multiple sectors, like transportation, agriculture, economic development, planning, education, academia, health care, and more, to develop sustainable, cross-cutting strategies for reducing the burden of obesity and chronic disease in New York’s communities. DASH-NY includes a multi-sector coalition, steering committee, and five topical workgroups, and holds an annual DASH-NY Coalition Conference. DASH-NY develops and implements trainings on topics that support local health units in implementing sustainable policy, systems, and environmental change. The DASH-NY Obesity Policy database serves as resource on New York State obesity policies, related, literature, and implementation examples from across the country.
Partnership for a Healthier NYC
NYAM is part of the Partnership for a Healthier NYC, which was established through a Community Transformation Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce chronic disease across the five boroughs. DASH-NY staff serves as the Active Living Chair of the Partnership’s Manhattan Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Workgroup. This Partnership team was selected to participate in the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health (NLAPH) program, funded by the CDC, to further develop a comprehensive toolkit that will focus specifically on increasing physical activity in schools through Active Design principles.
Compendium of Proven Community-Based Prevention Programs
NYAM and Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) released A Compendium of Proven Community-Based Prevention Programs, which highlights 79 evidence-based disease and injury prevention programs that have saved lives and improved health. The Compendium highlights the growing number and range of successful, evidence-based approaches to prevention. These efforts demonstrate that making healthy choices easier for people in their daily lives pays off in terms of improving health and lowering health care costs.
NYAM works to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities and promote the health of vulnerable populations throughout New York and beyond. NYAM conducts policy analysis, research, and evaluation to help provide evidence to decision makers and the broader community on issues including drug policy, prison reentry, maternal mortality, and asthma.
Promoting a Public Health Approach to Drug Policy
Medical and health professionals have long recognized that criminal justice approaches to drug use have failed to solve the problem but have not yet offered a comprehensive public health alternative. Tapping into our 100-year history of high-level convening, research, and policy recommendations in drug policy, NYAM has partnered with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) to define a public health and safety approach to this problem for New York through the development of the Blueprint for a Public Health and Safety Approach in Drug Policy. Informed by policy research, expert input and community consultations across the state, the Blueprint offers concrete recommendations for how to align the different sectors of government with the needs and desires of communities to improve their health and safety.