FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND HEALTH COMMISSIONER FRIEDEN ANNOUNCE NEW YORK CITY GAINS IN 7 OF 10 KEY HEALTH AREAS SINCE 2004
Four Take Care New York Targets Were Met One Year Early
Number of Blacks Getting Colonoscopies up 83 Percent; Number of Hispanics Getting Colonoscopies up 66 Percent
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York City Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden announced today that New York City has made significant progress in meeting seven out of 10 ambitious public health goals set in 2004 under the City's "Take Care New York" health policy. By 2007, the most recent year on record, New Yorkers had surpassed 2008 targets within four of the program's priority areas: colon cancer screening, regular access to primary health care, tobacco smoking, and intimate partner homicide. The findings are detailed in the fourth annual Take Care New York progress report, released today, which outlines the strides the City has made over the past four years, and the challenges that remain. The Mayor and Dr. Frieden were joined at Brooklyn's Maimonides Medical Center by Health and Hospitals Corporation President Alan D. Aviles, Maimonides Medical Center President and CEO Pamela Brier, Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center Medical Director Dr. Pascale Kersaint, Community Health Actio of Staten Island Executive Director Diane Arneth, and other community partners.
"New York City has never been healthier," said Mayor Bloomberg. "And the fact that New Yorkers are living longer-an average gain of one year and three months since 2001-is a testament to our progress. We have put particular focus on improving health among low-income residents and minorities, who suffer more than their share of preventable illness and death. We are chipping away at these gaps and making a long, healthy life a possibility for every New Yorker."
"We made real progress in decreasing smoking, boosting colon cancer screening and decreasing HIV-related deaths," said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. "It's a tribute to the excellent work of the Health Department staff, our partners and all New Yorkers that the city's health is so much better. There is much more to do. By working together with focus on what works, we can achieve even more."
"We in the New York City Council are committed to working closely with Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Frieden on a number of important public health initiatives," said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "We are pleased to see New York City continues to lead the way in improving public health for all New Yorkers. Today's announcement is more evidence that Take Care New York and the Council's NYC Women First initiative are good examples of local government making a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers, particularly helping men and women in communities of color stay healthy."
Since Take Care New York was launched in 2004, the City has also narrowed health gaps among racial and ethnic groups in colon cancer screening and access to primary health care. The proportion of black and Latino New Yorkers getting colonoscopies has increased dramatically, closing longstanding disparities in screening rates. Black New Yorkers are also now nearly as likely as whites to report having a regular doctor.
Take Care New York set ambitious four-year goals to reduce 10 leading causes of preventable illness and death. Since its launch, the Health Department has worked with more than 400 health care providers, community organizations and other New York City agencies to address these priority areas. This table summarizes the current status of the 10 priority areas.
Each of the 10 areas includes one or more specific indicators for which the city set 2008 targets. Numbers for 2008 are not yet available, but the 2007 data reported today show that New York City is on track to meet nearly all of the 16 targets that can be assessed (some baseline surveys have not yet been repeated). Here is a summary of the progress made on various indicators between 2002 and 2007.
The City's life expectancy has also grown by a year and three months since 2001, as announced by the Mayor in December. New Yorkers born in 2006 can expect to live an average of 79 years - a gain of four months over the 2005 figure. Life expectancy has grown faster in New York City than nationally, and recent declines in smoking-related deaths, HIV deaths, cancer deaths and heart disease deaths have fueled the city's progress.
For all the progress it charts, the report also notes areas where the city has yet to reach the Take Care New York goals. These include flu immunization, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. The proportion of senior citizens getting flu shots has fallen by 13 percent since 2002. The proportion of women getting regular mammograms is down by 4 percent, while the proportion of women getting cervical cancer screening has plateaued at 80 percent.
"There is still much work to do," said Dr. Frieden. "We must need to do more to overcome health gaps based on race and income. In particular, we must further reduce heart disease and infant mortality deaths, increase screenings for breast cancer, and prevent more deaths from drug overdose."
Take Care New York Efforts to Reduce Disparities and Improve Health
The city also expanded its Nurse Family Partnership program, which is now the largest of its kind in the nation, providing more than 1,800 families with skills and resources to ensure that low-income, first-time moms have healthy pregnancies, healthy babies and safe homes. And in 2008, the Health Department formed a broad coalition of healthcare providers and community groups to launch "The Bronx Knows," an ambitious effort with the goal that all Bronx residents between 18 and 64 learn their HIV status by getting a voluntary test.
Support and Accolades for Take Care New York
"Take Care New York has pushed us to raise awareness among our doctors and patients about the importance of preventive and primary care," said Maimonides Medical Center President and CEO Pamela Brier. "Now our patients are cared for by doctors and nurses who understand that following Take Care New York's principles promotes good health and saves lives. As a result, we've seen higher rates of cancer screening, better management of chronic health problems and an increase in screening and treatment of depression. We were delighted to be the first community partner in this groundbreaking program."
"Take Care New York has been one of the most effective efforts demonstrating how government, in partnership with the not-for-profit sector, can work effectively together to increase the wellness of New Yorkers," said Staten Island Mental Health Society President Dr. Kenneth Popler. "The joint community focus has truly led to positive results as demonstrated for Staten Islanders."
For more information on Take Care New York, or to read the complete report visit www.nyc.gov/health/tcny. Take Care New York Progress Charts are attached.
Stu Loeser/ Dawn Walker (212) 788-2958
Jessica Scaperotti (Health and Mental Hygiene)
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