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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 think about strategic and creative solutions to the root causes of poor health outcomes. We currently promote active aging, better prevention, and eliminating health disparities between populations as key factors in improving health. 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.
In New York City, like communities all over the world, the population of older adults is booming. Advances in public health have led to people living longer and healthier lives, and by 2030 it is estimated that one in five New Yorkers will be over 60. To support the healthy and active aging of this population, NYAM, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn launched Age-friendly New York City in 2007. The initiative seeks to make New York City a better place to grow old by promoting an "age-in-everything" lens across all aspects of city life. The initiative asks the city’s public agencies, businesses, cultural, educational and religious institutions, community groups, and individuals to consider how changes to policy and practice can create a city more inclusive of older adults and more sensitive to their needs. The initiative is a part of the World Health Organization’s Age-friendly Cities project.
A staunch advocate of preventive health among New Yorkers, NYAM is currently taking aim at the prevention of obesity and its related illnesses. With funding from the New York State Department of Health (DOH), NYAM established the DASH-NY Policy Center and Coalition to promote policy changes that will encourage physical activity, access to nutritious food, and healthy choices. NYAM also supports DOH's New York State Prevention Agenda, which sets 10 statewide public health priorities and helps communities achieve them.
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.
A Public Health Approach to Health Reentry
Research shows that individuals recently released from prison are at high risk for morbidity and mortality. However, formerly incarcerated individuals often face a number of barriers to health care, such as a lack of information to access a complex and fragmented system of care, gaps in health coverage, and a shortage of health care providers who are willing or able to treat them. The New York State Health Reentry Working Group - a team of state officials from multiple agencies, advocacy groups, reentry programs, and service providers staffed by NYAM - has been working to address these barriers. It is our belief that providing the approximately 25,000 men and women that leave the New York State prison system annually with comprehensive medical care will improve their health outcomes, enhance their ability to stay employed, reduce recidivism, and strengthen the health of the communities to which they return.
View NYAM's activity in 2012 here.