Health Leaders Rollout the 2013-17 Prevention Agenda: New York State's Health Improvement Plan

State-Community Collaboration Promotes Public Health Priorities to Improve New Yorkers' Health, Quality of Life and Reduce Health Disparities

ALBANY, N.Y (April 3, 2013) - State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., was joined today by New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, M.D., M.P.H., and representatives from leading health care and community organizations at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in Manhattan to officially launch a statewide, five-year plan to improve the health and quality of life for all New Yorkers.

The plan - Prevention Agenda 2013-17: New York State's Health Improvement Plan - serves as a blueprint for local community action to improve health and address health disparities. The Agenda is the result of a unique collaboration of more than 140 organizations - hospitals, local health departments, health providers, health plans, employers, schools and others - that identified key priorities in the statewide plan of action.

"Creating an effective public health strategy requires setting clear goals, promoting active collaborations, and demonstrating an unwavering commitment to address factors that affect the health of individuals, families and communities," Commissioner Shah said. "The Prevention Agenda establishes a strong course of action, including measurable goals and targeted interventions, to improve public health; we look forward to working with our partners to make New York the healthiest state in the nation."

As part of today's event, the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center highlighted its partnership with NYU Langone Medical Center, University Settlement House, Asian Americans for Equality, and other community groups and schools on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown to combat obesity and tobacco use-- two core Agenda focus areas and major public health threats in New York and across the nation.

"Chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes are today's leading health problems. In fact, one in eight New Yorkers has Type 2 diabetes," Commissioner Farley said. "We support the Prevention Agenda as a way to help communities focus their efforts in trying to prevent our biggest killers."

The New York State Department of Health (DOH), supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is developing and will soon launch a comprehensive Prevention Agenda 2013-17 media and public outreach campaign, which includes a Prevention Agenda website, public information and press materials, community awareness activities and an Agenda "tool kit" to provide tips, materials and guidance for stakeholders and partners across the state.

The Prevention Agenda identifies key strategies and interventions to address critical health issues and reduce health disparities in five priority areas:

Prevent Chronic Disease

Chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and asthma are among the leading cause of death and disability for New Yorkers, accounting for approximately 70 percent of all deaths. In addition, chronic diseases affect the daily living of one out of every ten New Yorkers.

Key focus areas include reducing obesity in adults and children; reducing death, disability and illness related to tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure; and increasing access to high-quality chronic disease preventive care and management in clinical and community settings.

Promote Healthy and Safe Environments

Enhancing the quality of our physical environment – air, water and the "built" environment – can have a major impact on public health and safety. The Agenda establishes four focus areas to achieve this objective: improving outdoor air quality; increasing the percentage of New Yorkers who receive fluoridated water and reducing health risks associated with drinking water and recreational waters; enhancing the design of communities to promote healthy physical activity and reducing exposure to lead, mold and toxic chemicals; and decreasing injuries, violence and occupational health risks.

Promote Healthy Women, Infants and Children

Recognizing that key population indicators related to maternal and child health have remained stagnant, or in some cases worsened in the past decade, the Agenda has establishes focus areas for maternal and infant health; child health; and reproductive, pre-conception and inter-conception (between pregnancies) health.

Agenda goals include reducing pre-term births and maternal mortality; promoting breastfeeding; increasing the use of comprehensive well-child care; preventing dental caries in children; preventing adolescent and unintended pregnancies; and promoting greater utilization of health care services for women of reproductive age.

Promote Mental Health and Prevent Substance Abuse

At any given time, almost one in five young people in the U.S. is affected by mental, emotional or behavioral disorders such as conduct disorders, depression or substance abuse. The Agenda recognizes that the best opportunities to improve mental health are to initiate interventions before a disorder manifests itself.

The Agenda calls for greater utilization of counseling and education; clinical and long-lasting protective interventions to promote mental, emotional and behavioral well-being in communities; preventing substance abuse; and strengthening the infrastructure across various systems to promote prevention and better health.

Prevent HIV, STDs, Vaccine Preventable Diseases, and Healthcare-Associated Infections

The Agenda strategy will promote community-driven prevention efforts to promote healthy behaviors, increase HIV testing, and reduce the incidence of diseases.

The Agenda focuses on promoting early diagnosis and treatment of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs); improving rates of childhood immunizations, especially children aged 19-35 months; and encouraging greater utilization of sanitary procedures in hospitals and other health care facilities to reduce the potential for healthcare-associated infections.

Prevention Agenda goals and objectives for 2017 include:

  • Reduce the number of adults who are obese by 5 percent so that the age‐adjusted percentage of adults ages 18 years and older who are obese is reduced from 24.2 percent (2011) to 23 percent;
  • Expand the role of health care and health service providers and insurers in obesity prevention and treatment;
  • Decrease the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults with incomes less than $25,000 by 30 percent, from 28.5 percent (2011) to 20percent.
  • Reduce the newly diagnosed HIV case rate by 25 percent to no more than 14.7 new diagnoses per 100,000;
  • Stop the annual increase of the rate of hospitalizations due to fallsamong residents ages 65 and over by maintaining the rate at 204.6 per 10,000 residents (2008‐2010); and
  • Reduce the percentage of preterm births(less than 37 weeks gestation) by 12 percent to 10.2 percent (Baseline: 11.6 percent).

Kenneth E. Raske, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said: "New York's entire hospital community has strongly supported the Prevention Agenda since its inception in 2008, and continues to strive every day to achieve its goal of improving the health and quality of life of all New Yorkers. We look forward to working with Commissioner Shah, Commissioner Farley, and other stakeholders to ensure that the Prevention Agenda 2013-17 is a major success."

Daniel Sisto, President of the Healthcare Association of New York State, said: "As the health care system moves toward population health management – with a greater emphasis placed on preventive care, rather than treating illness – hospitals across the state are working with their communities to improve overall health. Chosen by the Department of Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help lead the state's 2013-17 Prevention Agenda efforts, the Healthcare Association of New York State will be collaborating with health care providers, county health departments and community-based organizations on educational outreach, compiling best practices and providing the resources and tools needed to transform community health."

Jo Ivey Boufford, M.D., President of The New York Academy of Medicine, said. "It's important that this launch event for the statewide Prevention Agenda is being held at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, a model for community engagement and service in the Chinatown Community and N.Y.C. Implementation of the Prevention Agenda across the State will depend on the kinds of effective partnerships among local health care providers and payers, public health officials, community-based organizations and the business community that we see here at Charles B. Wang. The energy and commitment at this event today are the kind we hope to see across the state to drive the Prevention Agenda and improve the health of all New Yorkers."

Marc Gourevitch, M.D., Chair of the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, said: "It is a privilege to work with New York State and City agencies that have such strong commitment and capacity to advancing public health. The State's Prevention Agenda has provided us with the guidance to move ahead with a planning process that we hope will result in a vibrant partnership that improves health in the community. NYC has made major strides in stemming the epidemic of obesity and in lowering rates of tobacco use. But much work remains, including in our neighboring communities in the Lower East Side and Chinatown. It is a special honor to work with our community partners, who have a tremendous history of commitment and success in addressing these and other public health needs.

Jane T. Eng, Chief Executive Officer of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, said: "For more than 40 years, the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center has provided comprehensive and high-quality primary and preventive care to medically underserved Asian Americans and other vulnerable populations regardless of their ability to pay. At the Health Center, we have always emphasized integrating clinical service delivery with prevention to maintain and improve the health of the community. We know that primary prevention – taking action before a health condition arises – can make a vital contribution to current efforts in reducing health disparities. Over the years, our Health Center has had great successes in collaborating with the State and City Departments of Health on many health prevention efforts and we look forward to working with various partners in implementing the State Prevention Agenda in our community."

The 2013-17 Prevention Agenda priorities build on efforts undertaken through the 2008-12 Prevention Agenda for the Healthiest State. Progress made as a result of collaborative efforts included: improvements in access to care, including adults with health care coverage (+2.4 percent) and early diagnosis of colorectal cancer (+14.8 percent); an 8.6 percent decrease in infant mortality; declines in smoking rates for adults (-14.8 percent) and adolescents (-22.7 percent); improvements in lead screenings for children by age three (+10.8 percent); fewer low-birth-weight births (-1.2 percent); a decrease in asthma-related hospitalizations for children (-8.2 percent) and the overall population (-3.2 percent); and a decline in female breast cancer morality (-18 percent).

The 2013-17 Prevention Agenda is available at: