Press Release # 042-15
Wednesday, October 14, 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Carolina Rodriguez (347) 396-4177

Health Department Releases Community Health Profiles of Brooklyn Neighborhoods to Highlight Inequity and Encourage Community Engagement

The Community Health Profiles, to be rolled out this fall for all 59 community districts across the city, are the most comprehensive reports of neighborhood health ever produced

New indicators look beyond traditional health measures to define a broader picture of neighborhood health: these include neighborhood conditions such as housing quality, air pollution, and accessibility of healthy food

Community Health Profiles mark Health Department’s major step towards participatory public health

The Health Department today released the most comprehensive set of Brooklyn Community Health Profiles ever produced, detailing the health of all 18 community districts across the borough. Other borough profiles will be released in the next several weeks. The profiles detail the health of Brooklyn neighborhoods from a population breakdown to neighborhood conditions to health outcomes. These Community Health Profiles, updated and expanded versions of profiles first released in 2003 and then updated in 2006, provide comparative information on major health issues including HIV, smoking, and health insurance, and serve as a critical resource for improving health community by community. To create a broader picture of neighborhood wellbeing the agency added non-traditional health indicators to the Profiles, such as housing quality and retail environment. Poorly maintained housing is associated with negative health outcomes, including asthma and other respiratory illnesses, injuries and poor mental health; fewer supermarkets reduces access to healthy food choice options. Overall, while the Profiles reveal that there are many neighborhoods in very good health, there are significant health inequities that persist among many New York City neighborhoods. The Commissioner was joined at Brooklyn Borough Hall by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Harvey Lawrence, President & CEO of the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center, and Deputy Health Commissioner for Epidemiology Charon Gwynn, Ph.D., and Dr. Torian Easterling, Assistant Commissioner for the Brooklyn District Public Health Office. The Brooklyn Profiles can be found at The complete set of 59 Community Health Profiles will be available online at the end of the year.

“The Health Department’s Community Health Profiles represent the most comprehensive picture of neighborhood health that we have ever produced, including not only traditional measures of health, but indicators that offer a larger health portrait of a neighborhood such as housing and air quality, supermarket space, and school absenteeism,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Our goal is to put this information into the hands of elected officials, providers, institutions, community-based organizations and, most importantly, neighborhood residents themselves so we can truly work together to reduce health disparities across all five boroughs.

"Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to understanding the various health challenges facing our neighborhoods,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “The updated Community Health Profiles will empower Brooklynites, from civic leaders to everyday residents, with a broad understanding of the measures that are advancing or inhibiting their ability to raise healthy children and families. I look forward to continued partnership with Commissioner Bassett and DOHMH leadership in translating the data in these reports into effective outreach and locally-based solutions which put public health first in every Brooklyn community."

"The health challenges that our neighborhoods face currently are enormous and too large for any one entity to tackle on its own," said CEO of the Arthur Ashe Institute Ruth Browne, Sc.D. "Working with the Health Department it will take collective action with many nontraditional partners in concert together to really address the underlying challenges that compromise our health. The sharing of the community level data found in these Community Health Profiles and the smart use of that data, especially when it is extended to nontraditional partners, can be used to identify emerging trends and improve decision-making at all levels."

“The Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation is proud to partner with the Health Department and Borough President Adams on reducing health inequities in East New York,” said Michelle Neugebauer, Executive Director of the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. “As shown in the newly released Community Health Profiles our concerted efforts to battle obesity, heart disease, asthma and diabetes are much needed. Through education and organizing of neighborhood residents and merchants, the Borough President's investments in green housing and new supermarkets along with the Health Department’s cutting-edge public health initiatives like ‘Shop Healthy,’ we are collectively changing the way the community eats and exercises and transforming housing and the environment to promote healthy living and access to fresh food.”

A Community Health Profile will be produced for every community district in the city. Every Profile begins with a “Who We Are” section, which outlines the population in that district with a breakdown by ethnicity and age. Further, it includes the percentage of those who reported their own health as ‘excellent,” very good,” or “good,” and the life expectancy of residents in that district. The Profile is then broken down into five data sections:

(New Indicators) Neighborhood Conditions

  • Housing Quality
  • Air Pollution
  • Retail Environment

Social and Economic Conditions

  • Adult Education Attainment
  • Income
  • (New) Children and Adolescents
  • (New) Incarceration
  • (New) Violence

Healthy Living

  • Self-reported Health
  • Smoking, Diet and Physical Activity
  • Obesity and Diabetes
  • Substance Use

Health Care

  • Access to Health Care
  • Prevention and Screening

Health Outcomes

  • New HIV Diagnoses
  • Stroke
  • Mental Health
  • Child Asthma
  • Adult Hospitalizations for Asthma
  • Adult Hospitalizations for Diabetes
  • Leading Causes of Death
  • Infant Mortality and Premature Death

For reference, each data point is compared to the best performing community district, the borough, and New York City as a whole.

Over the coming several weeks and months, Health Department will meet with community organizations, medical providers, community boards, and elected officials to present the Profiles and discuss health issues that each community is facing. New Yorkers can also get the latest information on their neighborhoods by going to and searching for “Community Health Profiles.”

Some findings from the Brooklyn Community Health Profiles:

  •  In the Park Slope and Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, one in fourteen adults aged 16 and older is unemployed, and one-third of residents spend more than 30 percent of their monthly gross income on rent. The district’s poverty rate is half the New York City average. The incarceration rate is lower than the Brooklyn and citywide rates.


  •  In the Brownsville section of the Brooklyn, over one-quarter of adults have not completed high school. One in six Brownsville adults are aged 16 and older is unemployed, and over half of all resident spend more than 30 percent of their monthly gross income on rent. Nearly 40 percent of residents live below the Federal Poverty Level. The incarceration rate is the second highest in the city, three and a half times the Brooklyn and citywide rates.


  •  In the Flatbush and Midwood section of Brooklyn, a higher percentage of homes have maintenance defects compared with homes citywide. It is better educated than the Brooklyn as a whole. In general, adults in this area smoke, consume sugary drinks, eat fruit and vegetables, and are physically active at rates similar to residents of Brooklyn and the city as a whole. Flatbush and Midwood’s rate of HIV diagnosis is below that of Brooklyn and the city as a whole.


  • In East New York and Starrett City one in seven adults aged 16 and older is unemployed and half of all residents spend more than 30 percent of their monthly gross incomes on rent. One-third of residents here live below the Federal Poverty Level. The diabetes rate is 18 percent, the highest percentage in the city. The asthma hospitalization rate among children aged 5 to 14 is higher than Brooklyn and the citywide rates.

For these Community Health Profiles, the Health Department used community districts established by local law in 1975. The community districts correspond to local Community Boards. The former reports had used United Hospital Fund areas. The Health Department used several data sources to produce these Community Health Profiles. These included the U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS), the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Community Health Survey, an annual, random-digit-dial telephone survey of approximately 10,000 adults conducted each year in New York City, DOHMH Vital Statistics, the New York State Department of Health Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System, which provides hospitalization data in New York City, the NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey, the NYC Community Air Survey, DOHMH Citywide Immunization Registry, and the DOHMH HIV/AIDS Surveillance Registry. Other data were provided by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Department of Corrections, and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.