NYAM's work is driven by the belief that prevention is the key to good health. Urban environments can and must be shaped to offer their residents ample opportunity for healthy eating and physical activity in school, at work, and in their communities in order to make the healthy choice the easy choice. As it has for more than 160 years, NYAM continues to partner with local, state, and national public health officials and community leaders to develop evidence-based policies and programs that create healthy environments and prevent disease.
Designing a Strong and Healthy New York (DASH-NY), NYAM's statewide Obesity Prevention Policy Center and Coalition supported by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), offers policy research and analysis, training, technical assistance, and support for sustainable changes that increase access to healthy food and opportunities for safe places to play and exercise for all New Yorkers. In 2011, DASH-NY partnered with ChangeLab Solutions (formerly Public Health, Law, and Policy) to deliver training on developing and implementing healthy food procurement policies at public institutions. DASH-NY also worked with The Project for Public Spaces to host a statewide Healthy Places Training Program on best practices in fostering active transportation and healthy food markets. Additionally, a webinar providing strategies for reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and a two-part planning and zoning for health webinar series were provided and well-attended. Overall, more than 550 people in eight cities (and from all over the state via the webinars) benefited from the trainings. Recordings and resources from the trainings are available here.
The DASH-NY Advisory Group, a panel of experts representing national, statewide, and local-level entities from multiple sectors, provided consultation on the development of the DASH-NY policy agenda through workgroup and quarterly Advisory Group meetings.
In January 2011, DASH-NY hosted a summit entitled "What Should New York State Do Now to Prevent Obesity?" with the participation of community-based organizations and academics from across the state. NYAM organized a symposium, entitled "Dr. Richard F. Daines and the Health of the Public: The Road Ahead," in November in honor of the late Dr. Richard F. Daines, former New York State Health Commissioner. The symposium featured public health leaders and experts speaking on innovative approaches to prevention in New York and across the nation, including Thomas R. Frieden, MD, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
NYAM also initiated a special interest group on primary care and population health that has met several times and developed a vision statement and core principles for working together across the health care and public health boundary to improve population health in urban communities. The group is chaired by NYAM Fellow Marc Gourevitch, MD and includes Fellows and other experts in public health, health policy, economic and community development, clinical care, and the insurance industry.
In 2011, Governor Cuomo merged the State Hospital Review and Planning Council (SHRPC) and the Public Health Council to form the NYS Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC). Dr. Boufford serves as chair of the Council's Public Health Committee, leading the revision of New York State's health improvement plan known as the Prevention Agenda.
In 2011, NYAM's Office of School Health Programs (OSHP) worked with the Union Settlement Association (USA) in East Harlem to implement the East Harlem Teen Health Program, a comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention program funded by New York State. OSHP provided professional development for staff to help them integrate sexual literacy with youth leadership and community engagement.
OSHP also worked with the NYC Strategic Alliance for Health (SAfH), a project of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to develop an Implementation Guidebook that will become an online resource published by CDC for schools nationally to use. The Guidebook is a comprehensive resource designed to help communities replicate the strategies used by the SAfH to promote school compliance with wellness policies in the NYC public elementary schools through its Excellence in School Wellness Award.
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded NYAM's Center for Evaluation and Applied Research (CEAR) and Little Sisters of the Assumption a landmark $549,000 grant to fight asthma in East Harlem by improving indoor conditions in public housing projects. Approximately 23 percent of East Harlem children ages 5 to 12 suffer from asthma; the project aims to eliminate indoor health hazards such as mold and dust, and reduce ER and hospital use.
"NYAM is a wonderful place for interprofessional conversations about the important health policy and health care issues of our day."
-Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing