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

Claremont Healthy Village Initiative Logo
Claremont Healthy Village Initiative Logo
Claremont Healthy Village Initiative Logo

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