Transforming Health in a Low-Income Community in NYC

New study from The New York Academy of Medicine shares findings on innovative partnership in the South Bronx

New York, NY, Oct. 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Transforming health and addressing health disparities in low-income communities is a significant challenge that requires investment and collaboration by multiple sectors. A new study led by researchers at The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) on the Claremont Healthy Village Initiative in the South Bronx, published in the Journal of Urban Health, found that this type of collaboration has the potential to improve the health of a community. The initiative’s successful approach includes bringing in new resources, strengthening local partnerships, and increasing access to health programming and services. 

“NYAM’s evaluation of the Claremont Healthy Village Initiative demonstrates the benefits of healthcare partnerships that work closely with community-based organizations and residents to increase access and resources, build healthier communities and reduce longstanding inequities,” said NYAM President Dr. Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS. “This approach is consistent with NYAM’s belief that changing systems, breaking down barriers and creating access are all essential to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life.” 

With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, researchers from NYAM’s Center for Evaluation and Applied Research (CEAR) led a two-year assessment of the Claremont Healthy Village Initiative (CHVI), a partnership with BronxCare (a local hospital), Healthfirst (a not-for-profit health insurance provider) and nearly 20 community-based organizations. Launched in 2012, CHVI is a pioneering partnership that works to address the broader determinants of health in the Claremont/Morrisania neighborhood of the South Bronx. Claremont is a low-income community with disproportionately high rates of poor health (22% of adults in Claremont have diabetes and 36% are obese) and premature mortality (at 76.2 years, life expectancy is 5 years shorter than the NYC average). 

NYAM’s evaluation of CHVI found positive outcomes at the structural level including strengthened partnerships; increased visibility, recognition and connections for local organizations, including with policy makers; and access to funding and resources that enabled these organizations to offer more services to the community. In addition, over half of community members surveyed perceived improvements in access to health services, opportunities to eat healthy, and activities for youth, all of which have been key components of CHVI programming efforts. 

“Healthfirst remains dedicated to optimal health outcomes in this being a part of this Healthy Village,” said Susan J. Beane, MD, Executive Medical Director, Clinical Partnerships, Healthfirst. “Early in the project we realized that in order for it to be most effective, we couldn’t dictate what the community needed. So the program grew organically by listening to the residents tell us how we could best join them in building healthier lives, and offering tools, resources and programs. The results encourage us to push forward in efforts to improve access and equity through collaboration with the communities that we serve.”

“CHVI focuses on improving wellness through collaboration between a variety of sectors and organizations—large and small, local and citywide,” said Linda Weiss, Director of the Center for Evaluation and Applied Research at NYAM. “Our evaluation results suggest the approach has successfully promoted natural synergies and connections and has brought additional resources and recognition to a community that has faced decades of disinvestment. We hope and expect that others can use the information to strengthen local initiatives and their own community-based work.”

About The New York Academy of Medicine
The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) tackles the barriers that prevent every individual from living a healthy life. NYAM generates the knowledge needed to change the systems that prevent people from accessing what they need to be healthy such as safe and affordable housing, healthy food, healthcare and more. Through its high-profile programming for the general public, focused symposia for health professionals, and its base of dedicated Fellows and Members, NYAM engages the minds and hearts of those who also value advancing health equity to maximize health for all.

About Healthfirst
Healthfirst is New York’s largest not-for-profit health insurer, earning the trust of 1.5 million members by offering access to affordable healthcare. Sponsored by downstate New York’s leading hospitals, Healthfirst’s unique advantage is rooted in its mission to put members first by working closely with its broad network of providers on shared goals. Healthfirst takes pride in being pioneers of the value-based care model, now recognized as a national best practice. For nearly 30 years, Healthfirst has built its reputation in the community for top-quality products and services New Yorkers can depend on. It has grown significantly to serve the needs of members, offering market-leading products to fit every life stage, including Medicaid plans, Medicare Advantage plans, Long-Term Care plans, Qualified Health plans, and individual and small group plans. Healthfirst serves members in New York City and on Long island, as well as in Westchester, Sullivan, and Orange counties. For more information on Healthfirst, please visit

About BronxCare Health System 
BronxCare is the largest voluntary, not-for-profit health and teaching hospital system serving the South and Central Bronx, with 859 beds and more than 4,500 employees. Its two main hospital divisions, comprehensive psychiatric and chemical dependency programs, long-term care facility, and extensive outpatient network are delivering the highest quality and accessible services to the community. BronxCare is now among the largest providers of outpatient services in New York City, with close to one million visits annually. Its ER is also responding to 141,000 visits, one of the busiest in New York.



Claremont Healthy Village Initiative Logo

Contact Data