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NYAM in East Harlem: Community Engagement Update

On October 24, NYAM’s Health Policy team partnered with Mount Sinai’s Manhattan Community Transformation Grant Coalition to commemorate Food Day 2012 by hosting a Healthy Food Walking Tour in East Harlem. Food Day is a nationwide celebration and movement toward healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Participants learned about eating behaviors and healthy habits for wellness while visiting some great places to find a healthy bite along Madison and Lexington Avenues. A tour guide from El Museo del Barrio led a second tour focusing on the historical and cultural significance of food in the community.

“We were really excited to see community and local businesses come together to celebrate food,” said Devin Madden, Project Manager at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Department of Health Evidence and Policy. “We’re thrilled that there are so many businesses offering healthy food options in this community. We need to support those businesses on Food Day and throughout the year, and encourage more businesses to give back to their neighbors by offering healthy, affordable options.”

“I was impressed with how open and welcoming the East Harlem community and restaurants were to us in celebrating Food Day,” said Martine Edmund, Administrative Assistant for Health Policy at NYAM, who organized the event. “I believe Food Day is the start of a necessary dialogue between restaurant owners and patrons to ensure restaurants continue to provide meals that not only reflect the culture and diversity of the community, but also provide healthy food options that will attract residents.”

NYAM has also been active as a member of the East Harlem Community Alliance, a group of local businesses, nonprofits, religious organizations, government agencies, and citizens that was created to improve the health outcomes of the East Harlem community. The Alliance works toward this goal through economic development initiatives, which are related to the area’s determinants of health and represent an important opening step in improving the conditions in the community. 

The Alliance has three main initiatives: Hire East Harlem aims to improve job prospects for East Harlem residents by creating an online job bank job matching portal that can be utilized by both job seekers and employers. Buy East Harlem aims to increase the amount of purchasing from and between East Harlem Businesses and to create a user-friendly directory of East Harlem businesses. And Serve East Harlem will facilitate the connection of East Harlem residents to needed social services by compiling the information of all of the human/social service organizations in East Harlem into an online database.

“At NYAM we know that economics, social policies, and politics all impact an individual’s health,” said Simone-Marie Meeks, Director of NYAM’s Office of Community Engagement. “A person’s health will almost certainly be different based upon where s/he is born, grows up, lives, works, and ages, hence our commitment to the East Harlem Community Alliance.”

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Posted on January 16, 2013

Gina Ravosa
Director of Marketing & Communications
The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029
(212) 822-7285


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