As we start a new year and decade, we’re reflecting on all we’ve accomplished together, and how far we still have left to go to make New York healthier for all. To kick off 2020, here are our resolutions for a healthier New York City.
Improve the health of mothers and babies.
Bringing a new life into this world and raising a child should be an experience of joy and excitement. However, evidence shows that there are still unacceptable disparities in maternal and infant health, particularly for people of color. Severe maternal morbidity, life-threatening complications during pregnancy and childbirth, affects over 2,500 woman in New York City. Recent data shows that Black women in NYC are eight times more likely to die from pregnancy related complications than white women. The vast majority of these deaths and complications are preventable. Structural racism and gender oppression are often root causes of inequities in maternal outcome, and research shows that the experience of racism (and often, relatedly, not being believed or having pain taken seriously), takes a toll on bodies, especially during pregnancy and birth. The chronic stress of racism increases the risk of diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, which also increase the risk of maternal morbidity and mortality.
We must develop new ways to ensure that mothers and babies have the support they need to thrive. FPHNYC is working tirelessly to make sure new families have access to responsive, respectful healthcare before, during, and after birth.
Fight the spread of epidemics.
Epidemics – rapidly spreading threats to health – include communicable diseases, such as measles and the flu, or dangerous conditions and behaviors, like obesity or tobacco use. This year we learned that epidemics wait for no one as we faced the largest measles outbreak since 1992. The new decade is likely to bring new and unpredictable outbreaks. Flexible funding and loyal community partners will enable quick and creative responses by our partners at the Health Department to halt the spread of communicable diseases and keep NYC healthy.
We are also seeing a resurgence in tobacco use among NYC’s youth. Recent studies have shown that one in six NYC high school students currently use e-cigarettes. One e-cigarette or vaping device can contain as much nicotine as an entire pack of traditional cigarettes. We are committed to fighting this growing epidemic in addition to continuing our work to curb opioid use and decrease the rates of obesity in our city.
Create innovative ways to improve public health.
Government alone can’t create a culture of healthy living. Our unique model connects experts at the Health Department with private sector and philanthropic partners to build innovative initiatives that make our city healthier and safer. These collaborations test out new ideas that when successful, can be scaled and replicated.
For example, last year we worked in collaboration with the Health Department to successfully open a “Quickie Lab” in Chelsea, an innovative Sexual Health Clinic (SHC) model to address sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by making it faster and easier for people to get tested and treated. SHCs provide low- to no-cost walk-in sexual health services regardless of immigration status or insurance coverage. In November of 2019, we received a grant from the TD Bank Ready Challenge to expand our Quickie Lab to Brooklyn. In 2020 we will be opening our Fort Greene “Quickie Lab,” expanding access to the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. We are so inspired and grateful to work with our amazing philanthropic and community partners supporting 8.5 million New York City residents. We’re committed to achieving our vision of all New Yorkers sharing equitably in a culture of healthy living by finding innovative solutions to NYC’s most pressing public health challenges. Join us in 2020 as we continue make NYC a healthier city!