2011 Annual Report / Eliminate Disparities

Eliminate Health Disparities

Urban environments give rise to health disparities that cannot be explained by an individual's behavior alone, but are directly related to differences in the physical and social characteristics of neighborhoods and communities. NYAM works to design research, policies, and programs that eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities and promote the health of vulnerable populations.

NYAM's Center for Evaluation and Applied Research (CEAR) formed a partnership with the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and the National Hispanic Health Foundation, funded by the Kellogg Foundation, to promote healthy behaviors and reduce obesity among low-income Latino children. The goals of the initiative include developing physician-led health communications campaigns for children less than eight years old in families in California and New York and engaging Hispanic physicians to become agents of behavioral, community, and policy change.

NYAM remains committed to addressing racial disparities in maternal mortality in New York City and State. In 2011, NYAM engaged stakeholders in taking steps toward implementation of its 2010 report Maternal Mortality in New York: A Call to Action – Findings and Priority Action Steps. This included serving on the New York State Maternal Mortality Review Committee; supporting proposals within the Medicaid Redesign Team that enhance services for maternal and child health; and participating in the NY eHealth Collaborative Public Health Work Group to expand the use of Health IT to coordinate services for pregnant women.

NYAM is helping to nurture a diverse healthcare workforce through its Junior Fellows and G.I.R.L.S. (Getting into Real Life Science) and the Health Professions programs. Over the course of the 2010-2011 school year, more than 335 students from 13 New York City public schools learned about careers in the health professions while honing their secondary research, presentation, and study skills. A new initiative supported by the Bristol Myers-Squibb Foundation, The Junior Fellows Philanthropy Project, paired students with local community-based organizations to design and implement service projects based upon their assessments of their neighborhood's public health needs. The winning student team was able to contribute $5,000 to its partner community-based organization.

NYAM supports the development of a public health-oriented approach to drug policies that saves lives, strengthens communities, reduces the harms associated with drug misuse, and enhances public safety. In 2011, NYAM continued its partnership with the Drug Policy Alliance to convene experts, consult with community members, and review evidence-based strategies to inform a comprehensive Blueprint for A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy in New York State (forthcoming in 2012).

NYAM has also become involved in efforts to prevent prescription drug abuse, through its participation in the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Interagency Workgroup on Preventing Prescription Drug Misuse, Diversion and Overdose.

A national study coordinated by NYAM and the Yale University School of Medicine—the largest ever undertaken among people living with HIV and taking buprenorphine—found buprenorphine to be effective in reducing drug use while improving their health and quality of life. The study, Buprenorphine in Integrated HIV Care Evaluation and Support (BHIVES), involved more than 300 patients in ten HIV primary care sites around the U.S. Its findings pave the way for people living with HIV to receive the medication directly from their primary care physicians. The study findings were reported in a special supplemental issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS).

Testimonials

"[The Junior Fellows Program] is an experience that broadens your horizons of medical science and health care in your community."
-Maya, The Christa McAuliffe School, IS 187

"Junior Fellows allows kids to research about a certain topic and helps them research the right way. They guide us to know more about good and bad websites to research from."
-Yusra, The Park Slope Education Complex, MS 88

"Working with the staff was a lot of fun and helped me a lot. After the trips, we'd all talk about what we found out."
-Sabrina, Robert H. Goddard High School, HS 308