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Press Release

Press Release # 024-09
Friday, May 15, 2009

CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Jessica Scaperotti:

Statement from Health Commissioner Frieden

“It has been a unique honor and privilege to be Mayor Bloomberg’s Health Commissioner and none of our health progress would have been possible without the Mayor’s leadership. I have loved serving New Yorkers as Health Commissioner and am sorry to be leaving one of the greatest jobs in the world. I thank my wonderful colleagues at the Health Department for their creativity, dedication, and hard work, and I look forward to continuing to learn from them as they, my successor, and Mayor Bloomberg continue to set the model and pace for public health progress. I am deeply honored and privileged to be selected for this position, and I look forward to learning from and working with the wonderful staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Background on highlights from past 7 years:

  • New York City’s comprehensive approach to tobacco control reduced the adult smoking rate from 21.5% to 15.8%, meaning the city now has about 350,000 fewer smokers. The youth smoking rate has fallen by more than half during the same period – from 17.6% to 8.5%.

  • The Health Department has created an annual Community Health Survey, as well as the nation’s first community-based Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Both efforts have yielded important insights into the health of New Yorkers, and both have helped the city design and assess programs to improve the health of communities.

  • Since 2004, the Health Department has spearheaded Take Care New York, the city's first comprehensive health policy, targeting 10 leading causes of preventable illness and death for coordinated public and individual action. By 2007, the city had surpassed 2008 targets in four areas: smoking rates, colon cancer screening, regular access to primary care, and reduction of intimate partner homicide.

  • New York City now has the nation’s largest community-based electronic health record project – one designed specifically to make prevention central to health care. More than 1,200 local health care providers – many of them practicing in the city's poorest and sickest neighborhoods – have joined the city’s Primary Care Information Project. A million of their patients are now benefiting from cutting-edge electronic health records.

  • Through NY/NYIII, New York City and New York State will create 9,000 units of supportive housing for homeless and at-risk people over the coming decade. This partnership is the largest commitment to creating housing for homeless people with disabilities in the nation.

  • New York City led the nation in eliminating artificial trans fat, a known cause of heart disease, from restaurant foods. Other localities have followed suit, and more than 50 national chains have eliminated artificial trans fat from all of their products.

  • By mandating the posting of calorie information in chain restaurants, the city’s Board of Health empowered consumers to make healthier food choices at the point of purchase and encouraged restaurants to offer healthier options.

  • New York City created the country’s first A1C registry to monitor blood sugar levels among people with diabetes. The registry provides regular reports to treating physicians and helps doctors and patients better control their conditions.

  • The Health Department strengthened the City’s capacity to respond to biological, chemical, and radiological emergencies and detect and address a wide range of naturally occurring infectious diseases.

  • The agency strengthened and modernized essential services, including an inspectional program for more than 10,000 day care facilities, a food safety program that oversees 27,000 restaurants, and a rodent control program that has pioneered an innovative indexing program in the South Bronx.