As Part of National Public Health Week NYS Health Commissioner Promotes a Framework for How New Yorkers Can Live Healthier Lives

New York State Department of Health Partners with Communities to Improve Access to Healthy Food, Implement Chronic Disease Prevention Strategies and Provide Affordable Health Coverage

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 6, 2022) – In observance of National Public Health Week, April 4 -10, 2022, State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett, today highlights several public health programs in New York that build on efforts to ensure all New Yorkers have access to healthy food, chronic disease prevention strategies and affordable health coverage.

"Building strong community partnerships makes a real difference in preventing chronic disease and is a hallmark of public health," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "Evidence has shown that New Yorkers live healthier and happier lives when the places they live, work and learn support healthy behaviors, and they have access to quality healthcare regardless of their income levels, education or ethnicity."

Access to Chronic Disease Prevention

Chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes are leading causes of disability and death in the United States and disproportionally effect Black and Brown communities. The failure to ensure everyone's right to accessible healthcare and to healthy environments in which to live, work, and learn; and the failure to ensure safe workplaces, living wages, affordable housing, and proper air ventilation for all leads to increased rates of chronic diseases, including asthma and diabetes. The detection of chronic diseases in their earliest stages and attention to disease management is crucial to preventing debilitating and costly complications. The State Department of Health is actively working to prevent or control asthma through public education, efforts to eliminate environmental factors that trigger asthma and improving access to quality asthma care.

The Asthma Partnership of New York is a public and private collaboration that connects more than 1,000 organizations across the state, including the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the New York City Asthma Partnership, the New York City Department of Education, the Business Council of the State of New York, regional asthma coalitions, local health departments, home intervention programs, community organizations and others to implement key asthma initiatives. Since 2006, the Asthma Call-Back Survey (ACB) is used to gather in-depth information about asthma prevalence, episodes, management, medications, work or school related asthma, comorbidity, and the presence of environmental triggers from New Yorkers who have reported having lifetime asthma themselves or that of a child. These data are reported in specific surveillance publications and presentations.

An estimated 1.7 million New Yorkers have diabetes. The State Department of Health is working to reverse the diabetes epidemic in New York State by focusing on prevention, identifying people with prediabetes, and collecting data on prevalence to help improve the health of all people living with diabetes.

The Department works with multiple partners to implement a range of diabetes prevention and management activities in community and healthcare settings. New York State participates in the National Diabetes Prevention Program to make it easier for people with prediabetes to participate in evidence-based, affordable, lifestyle change programs to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes and improve their overall health.In addition, the Department of Health's Breastfeeding Friendly Communities initiative reduces an infant's risk of diabetes and obesity later in life, and a mother's risk for type 2 diabetes. The initiative funds six organizations to establish coordinated community support networks for families from pregnancy through infancy to increase breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity, and duration.

Access to Nutritious Food

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven of the ten leading causes of death in the United States are linked to poor diets. The State Department of Health Division of Nutrition's mission is to create an environment that empowers New Yorkers to make healthy eating and physical activity choices. The Department is also committed to ensuring that, regardless of race or ethnicity, that all people have access to nutritious and affordable food is essential to optimal health and plays a critical role in determining health outcomes.

The Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP) improves the nutritional quality of food available at food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters by providing nutritious foods to people and families who are at risk for hunger or food insecurity.

Creating Healthy Schools and Communities (CHSC) supports partnerships between schools, towns, cities, and counties in rural and urban areas. CHSC helps to increase options for healthy, affordable foods and opportunities for daily physical activity for youth and adults. CHSC utilizes evidence-based strategies that are tailored to meet the unique needs of New York State's many communities by implementing local school wellness policies, increasing standards for competitive foods, increasing healthier food options at small food retailers, improving the nutrition quality of foods offered in municipal and community-based organizations, and employing transportation plans in municipalities that support walking, biking and rolling.

Access to Affordable Health Coverage

NY State of Health has been a critical source of stability by providing over 6.5 million New Yorkers seamless access to affordable health coverage. The 2022 Open Enrollment Period for NY State of Health Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) will remain open for the duration of the federal Public Health Emergency.Enrollment in the Essential Plan, Medicaid and Child Health Plus is open all year.Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the State has cut the number of uninsured New Yorkers in half across every racial and ethnic group.

All health plans offered through NY State of Health cover preventive care, such as routine doctor visits and screenings, at no additional cost. For more information about Marketplace health plans and enrolling in coverage, visit: Consumers can enroll in a health plan by calling the Customer Service Center at 1-855-355-5777, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

To learn more about the many community-based public health programs offered by the State Department of Health, visit

To learn more about National Public Health Week click here.