I attended “Grand Rounds: The Making of a Healthy Community” by David Sandman PhD who is the President and CEO of New York State Health Foundation, on September 26th 2018 at the CUNY School of Public Health. He spoke about the NYS Health Program utilizing a community population-based approach. How a person’s zip code impacts one’s health more than a person’s genetic code along with the uneven distribution of health outcomes in many areas of New York.
NYS Health Program helps communities transform themselves via ‘Healthy Neighborhoods Fund’ and so far, he has initiatives in East Harlem, Brownsville, Two Bridges (Lower East Side), Clinton county, Niagara Falls, Syracuse). The foundation is private, independent and not ran by the state (it isn’t a payer, provider or a shareholder either).
Mr. Sandman also has a diverse ‘Special Projects Fund’ which offers support in different community issues such as environmental issues, water fluoridation, opioid epidemic, and immigration. He also has a ‘Healthy Neighborhoods Fund’ that empowers the communities previously mentioned, by providing transparency in regards to health information to health care consumers and engaging patients as partners in health care decision making.
David Sandman leads a Community Parks Initiative that forges partnerships in the communities, listens to community voices and engages in finding surprising solutions to community issues (Ex: Residents of Niagara Falls used participatory budgeting to revamp a dimly lit, abandoned, graffiti, neglected public park. Liberty Park vs High Park).
One thing that stood out, was the “Active Citizens Projects EATs” program which uses land and converts it to neighborhood-based farms, due to the fact that produce that are grown on these farms are free! This program also employs community residents as farmers to work in these neighborhood-based farms.