Learning to Transform Health in a Disadvantaged Community in NYC

The New York Academy of Medicine, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center and Healthfirst receive Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to evaluate the impact of a pioneering culture of health initiative.

NEW YORK, NY, October 31, 2016 – The New York Academy of Medicine, in collaboration with Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center and Healthfirst, has received a grant award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support the evaluation of the Claremont Healthy Village Initiative, a ground-breaking partnership created to address care gaps and health disparities in one of New York’s most vulnerable and underserved urban communities.

Researchers from the Academy’s Center for Evaluation and Applied Research (CEAR) and Center for Health Innovation will lead a two-year assessment of the Claremont Healthy Village Initiative, a partnership with Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center (a major teaching hospital and integrated health care system), Healthfirst (a not-for-profit health insurance provider) and nearly 20 community-based organizations. Launched in 2012, the Claremont Healthy Village Initiative is a pioneering partnership that works to address the broader determinants of health in the Claremont/Morrisania neighborhoods of the South Bronx.

The Claremont Healthy Village Initiative aims to address and assuage the low income levels, high unemployment, low education levels, and poor health indicators in the South Bronx’s Claremont/Morrisania community. With a population of more than 82,000 people in a predominantly African American, Hispanic and immigrant community, Claremont/Morrisania has the highest rates of poverty and unemployment in New York City, with nearly 44 percent of its residents living in poverty. Health indicators also show that community members live with a number of health disparities, including high rates of diabetes (16%) and diabetes-related hospitalizations at three times the citywide rate.

The purpose of the Claremont Healthy Village Initiative is to create and sustain a culture of health and well-being in the community by offering programs focused on health promotion, health care access and coordination, and access to affordable fresh produce, as well as opportunities for physical activity, social engagement, workshops in the arts, and capacity building and leadership development.

The Academy’s evaluation may expand on current data showing some positive health outcomes among residents of Claremont Village.

“By determining what succeeds and what needs to be improved in the Claremont Healthy Village Initiative, the Academy is engaging in work that is central to our mission of improving health in cities by assessing a model of collaboration that may have the potential to become a model for advancing health in urban communities around the country and the world,” said Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, President of the Academy.

“The poor health statistics in the South Bronx drive us to truly want to make a difference in each and every patient, family, and neighborhood with which we connect. This Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant will enable us to move forward and succeed in our continuing efforts to Promote and Achieve Health Care Excellence for the communities we serve,” stated Doug Reich, MD, Chairman, Family Medicine, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center.

“We are grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for recognizing the significance of this multi-organization partnership,” said Pat Wang, Chief Executive Officer of Healthfirst. “We all need to bring our different strengths and perspectives to the table and collaborate if we are going to help bend the health and wellness curve for underserved communities.”

“The healthcare delivery system of the future must be responsive to the goals and priorities of the residents and the communities we serve. The Claremont Healthy Village embraces that model, as we collaborate around strategies to achieve desired health outcomes,” said Susan Beane, MD, Healthfirst Vice President and Medical Director.

Using mixed methods and multilevel evaluation, the Academy team will work with Healthfirst and Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center to quantify and describe Claremont Healthy Village Initiative processes and outcomes related to health care use and costs and examine changes at the individual, organizational and community levels.

“This is an exciting opportunity. We have a creative, pro-active, and collaborative initiative in a high-need community, with a strong and diverse group of partners. Also, we have rich data that can be used to carefully examine program implementation and its outcomes. Through this evaluation, we look forward to learning a great deal about how communities facing persistent inequities can effect change through improvements in health and quality of life,” said Linda Weiss, PhD, Director, Center for Evaluation and Applied Research.

About the Academy

The New York Academy of Medicine advances solutions that promote the health and well-being of people in cities worldwide.
Established in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine continues to address the health challenges facing New York City and the world’s rapidly growing urban populations. We accomplish this through our Institute for Urban Health, home of interdisciplinary research, evaluation, policy and program initiatives; our world class historical medical library and its public programming in history, the humanities, and the arts; and our Fellows program, a network of more than 2,000 experts elected by their peers from across the professions affecting health. Our current priorities are healthy aging, disease prevention, and eliminating health disparities.

About Healthfirst

Healthfirst is a not-for-profit health insurance company sponsored by some of the most prestigious hospitals and healthcare systems in New York. It serves almost 1.2 million members in New York City and in Long Island through government-sponsored programs including Child Health Plus, Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and Managed Long Term Care (Senior Health Partners), as well as through private health plans including Healthfirst Leaf and Qualified Health Plans, offered on NY State of Health, The Official Health Plan Marketplace. It now offers The Essential Plan, lower-cost health plan options for qualifying individuals. For the second year in a row, Healthfirst is a 4-Star Medicare Advantage plan and has 5 Stars for quality on the NY State of Health, The Official Health Plan Marketplace.

About the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Health Care System

Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center is a major teaching hospital and health care system, fully accredited by the Joint Commission, the nation’s leading hospital accrediting authority. It consists of two divisions, a comprehensive psychiatric program, two specialized long-term care facilities, and an extensive BronxCare network, including a recently completed 9-story Health and Wellness Center for outpatients, and Life Recovery Center for chemical dependency (one of only a few such facilities in New York State), as well as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Health Center. Bronx-Lebanon now provides more than 1.1 million outpatient and 140,000 ER visits. It is also certified as a Level Three Patient Centered Medical Home (the highest level) by the National Center for Quality Assurance. Additionally, Bronx-Lebanon’s four consecutive “A-Ratings” from the Leap Frog Industry Watchdog Group places it in the upper echelon of the safest hospitals in the nation, including the added distinction of being the only hospital in the Bronx and one of three in New York City to receive the A-grade during the Spring, 2016 time period.

Channell Mellish

Sheree Crute
The New York Academy of Medicine

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