2011 Annual Report / Engaging Communities

Engaging Communities

NYAM works closely with several community partners in its East Harlem neighborhood as well as Central Harlem and the South Bronx to develop policies and programs that will improve the health and safety of people of all ages.

In 2011, NYAM became active in the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force, a coalition led by New York City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito to address youth violence and bullying in the community. The Task Force held community consultations with youth, parents, community-based organizations' youth development managers, school counselors, and area clergy. The resulting report led to multiple projects aimed at keeping youth engaged and safe, most notably the opening of the Johnson Community Center. Additionally, many subcommittees have been formed to work on specific agenda ideas.

As part of the Public Safety and Transportation Committee of Community Board 11, NYAM was instrumental in securing approval for new bike lanes on First and Second Avenues from 96th-125th Streets in East Harlem. NYAM is also a member of the East Harlem Community Alliance, which brings together organizations and individuals interested in positive action on the health issues facing this community. Additionally, NYAM staff conducted a number of presentations for elected representatives about NYAM's projects, shared how NYAM would like to join in improving the health of the East Harlem community, and discussed ways in which the community's leaders see NYAM's role in supporting East Harlem residents.

The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce (GHCC), along with NYAM, Harlem Hospital, and The City College of New York (CCNY), sponsored the First Annual Urban Health Conference in February. The four-day event addressed pressing health issues of concern to urban communities including obesity, oral and dental health, mental health, heart disease, youth violence, financial health, and spiritual health.

NYAM also partnered with the GHCC and the CCNY on a launch event for Wellness Week, which led up to the United Nations General Assembly meeting on non-communicable diseases. Wellness Week, a project of The Pan American Health Organization, the World Economic Forum, and the World Health Organization, aims to increase awareness of non-communicable diseases and ways to prevent the onset and spread of disease in individuals, families, and communities. The launch event brought together more than 80 community-based organizations from throughout Harlem and highlighted the variety of ways Harlem partners and coalitions have helped improve health outcomes in their community. It also highlighted the connection between international cities and urban centers fighting non-communicable diseases and implementing prevention strategies.

NYAM also continued to actively pursue its Age-friendly NYC and Office of School Health Programs activities in East Harlem. Major 2011 projects of the East Harlem Aging Improvement District included the establishment of senior-only hours at the Thomas Jefferson Park pool and a pilot retail business outreach campaign to help local stores become more age-friendly. NYAM's School Health programs in East Harlem are Healthy Eating Active Living (10 schools), G.I.R.L.S. (Getting into Real Life Science) and the Health Professions (10 schools), the Junior Fellows Program (8 schools), and the East Harlem Teen Health Program in partnership with the Union Settlement Association.


Wellness Week participants (above) included (center, left-right) Lloyd Williams, president of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce; Karen Mackey Witherspoon, vice president of Government Affairs at the City University of New York; Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, President of NYAM; Sarita Nayar, World Economic Forum (WEF); Mirta Roses, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); and Dr. Thomas Farley, Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.