2011 Annual Report / Global

Global Health

The 10th International Conference on Urban Health (ICUH) was held from November 1-5, 2011 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The conference was co-hosted by the International Society for Urban Health (for which NYAM serves as the Secretariat) and the Urban Health Observatory at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. The meeting brought together hundreds of delegates from more than 50 countries. The principle theme of "Urban Health Action toward Equity" was particularly apt in this setting; Belo Horizonte is famed for its participatory budgeting process that involves local citizens directly in setting municipal budget priorities. Highlights of the conference included a site visit to the Vila Viva Program, a city initiative to urbanize local favelas (slum settlements), and plenary talks highlighting interventions in both the developing and developed world. More information, including summaries of each day's program, can be found at www.icuh2011.org.

In September, more than 200 individuals representing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the globe gathered at NYAM in preparation for the UN General Assembly High Level Meetings on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The two-day event was hosted by the NCD Alliance and included a special keynote panel, "Preventing Non-Communicable Diseases: The New York Experience," featuring Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and John Orcutt,
Policy Director at the New York City Department of Transportation, as well as a briefing for NGOs participating in the High Level Meetings. Another session on "Urban Health and NCDs," co-sponsored by ISUH and Eminence, a Bangladeshi NGO, featured the Minister of Health of Bangladesh; Srinath Reddy, Dean of India's National Institute of Public Health; and Alla Alwan, the WHO leader of the NCD Prevention Initiative and now Regional Director of WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Region. Finally, the evidence-based reports that served as the foundation for the UN General Assembly's formal discussions were launched at NYAM on the evening before the opening of the session. The events have an important link to NYAM's statewide DASH initiative to prevent obesity, an important risk factor for NCDs. It was also an opportunity to showcase what the world (and New York) is doing to address the deadly effects of NCDs as well as the many steps the city has taken to ensure the good health of all New Yorkers.

NYAM continued to act as an advocate for global Age-friendly Cities in 2011, sharing wisdom and best practices learned from implementing Age-Friendly NYC. NYAM Senior Vice President Ruth Finkelstein was featured as the plenary speaker and served on the planning committee for the World Health Organization's First International Conference on Age-friendly Cities in Dublin. Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs, the Mayor's lead on the Age-friendly NYC Commission housed at NYAM, signed the Dublin Declaration on behalf of NYC.

In Taiwan, Dr. Finkelstein presented at a national meeting sponsored by the federal Bureau of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, which is sponsoring a national program of age-friendly cities in the eight regions of Taiwan. She then traveled to several cities to meet with mayors and top city officials consulting about their plans for age-friendly cities, and sharing experiences and materials from New York. As a result of this visit, Taiwan sent a large, high-level delegation to the conference in Dublin. Dr. Finkelstein also presented in plenary at the World Demographic Congress in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Additionally, Dr. Boufford presented on Age-friendly NYC at the ICUH in Brazil.