NYAM works to create environments, policies, and programs that will allow older adults in New York City and around the nation and the world to live longer, healthier lives and stay fully engaged in their communities. As approximately one-fifth of the world’s population will be 60 years of age by the year 2030, New York City—and cities worldwide—must prepare now to meet the needs of their expanding older populations.
Neighborhoods without fresh food stores, schools without playgrounds, unsafe housing, and polluted air all make good health a daily challenge for millions of city dwellers. NYAM works in tandem with local, state and national public health and community leaders to tackle the root causes of avoidable illness, disability, and death. Our work includes community-based programs and state and national policy advocacy with special emphasis on our own East Harlem community.
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. Understanding and intervening to eliminate these disparities is fundamental to NYAM’s research and action to improve urban health. NYAM’s work targets vulnerable populations including the working poor, homebound older adults, injection drug users, and currently and formerly incarcerated individuals.
NYAM has a long history of involvement in New York City communities through its community-based participatory research to develop interventions that reduce the health disparities within urban populations, its school health education programs, and its policy work. More recently, NYAM has committed to broader and deeper engagement with its neighboring East Harlem community, Central Harlem, and the South Bronx.
World population estimates project that over half the world’s population currently lives in cities; this proportion is expected to rise to 60 percent over the next two decades. NYAM is committed to advancing global urban health and sharing lessons learned through our New York City and national initiatives. We serve as technical advisors to international organizations and cities around the world in the areas of urban health, health workforce issues, and Age-friendly Cities.
The hallmarks of urban settings—size, diversity, density, and complexity—give rise to unique health problems. NYAM, working in one of the world’s most complex urban environments, seeks to identify these problems and define and establish solutions. Working in partnership with local, state, and national public health and community leaders, NYAM develops evidence-based policies and programs that build healthy communities and prevent disease before it occurs.
NYAM has shaped the field of urban health by publishing multiple books and the bi-monthly Journal of Urban Health, working with the World Health Organization and other international agencies as expert advisors, establishing the International Society for Urban Health, and organizing international conferences.
Additionally, NYAM’s Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies has advanced urban health research by conducting innovative studies and interventions in Harlem and the South Bronx on pressing health issues including HIV, substance abuse, mental health, and asthma. NYAM not only researches these issues but asks, “What can we do?”, implementing interventions that both address the issues directly and mobilize community partners to work together to design sustainable structural interventions.
NYAM’s award-winning skin health program, developed in partnership with the American Skin Association, has been implemented in 23 states, reaching more than 4.1 million K-12 students across the country.
The Journal of Urban Health addresses a range of urban health issues from both clinical and policy perspectives.
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