Health Department’s Center for Health Equity Hosts “Not62: Building Health Equity in the Bronx

The event at Hostos Community College brings together over 200 partners to strengthen ongoing collaborative efforts to achieve health equity in the Bronx

April 26, 2018 – The Health Department’s Center for Health Equity today is hosting #Not62: Building Health Equity in the Bronx, a summit for City agencies, community leaders and Bronx organizations to discuss efforts to continue improving the health of Bronx residents. Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett will deliver the keynote speech, “Strategies for Improving Health Equity in the Bronx”. The summit follows the 2018 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings Report, which ranks Bronx County as number 62 out of 62 counties in New York State. The #Not62 campaign was formed by a multi-sector coalition of Bronx stakeholders to improve strategic health outcomes for Bronx residents by the year 2020. Since its inception, 54 organizations have joined the campaign. 

“Partnerships between government and community are critical to improving the health of our neighborhoods,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett.  “Only through community buy-in and leadership can we achieve health equity. Thanks to the many community partnerships in the Bronx, we are starting to see positive changes in the health of Bronx residents. We are fortunate to work with partners whose commitment for the Bronx shows through ongoing activism.”

“I am proud to join with partners within city government and in the community to work to build health equity.” said Director of Food Policy Barbara Turk. “Only by working together across sectors will we be able to address food insecurity and improve access to healthy, affordable food.”

“Art and culture are essential ingredients for healthy neighborhoods. That’s why we’re making investments that align with the important health equity goals of the Not62 campaign through programs such as Building Community Capacity and the Mayor’s Grant for Cultural Impact, as well as increasing support for the many arts organizations that are woven into the fabric of communities around the Bronx,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “We applaud the Center for Health Equity’s focus on close collaboration among residents, community organizations, and City agencies to create powerful alliances dedicated to bringing positive, sustainable change.”

The Bronx Neighborhood Health Action Center works with communities by providing reliable, sustainable sources of data at the neighborhood level to help identify opportunities to improve health.  The Action Center engages local leaders through partnerships such as the #Not62 campaign to create and support sustainable initiatives that promote health, including:

  • The Bronx Healthy Beverage Zone: The project helps workplaces throughout the Bronx make water and other healthy beverage options the norm. Since 2016, the Bronx Healthy Beverage Zone has worked with 44 organizations across four community boards to help organizations eliminate sugary drinks from cafeterias and vending machines. The project seeks to reduce the rates of obesity and diabetes in the Bronx. 
  • Mental Health First Aid and Naloxone trainings: Since last April, the Bronx Action Center has worked with Thrive NYC to host 30 Mental Health First Aid trainings, reaching 452 people and training them on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide risk. In addition, since January, the Action Center has provided 11 trainings on Naloxone, the life-saving medication that reverses overdoses from opioids, and provided free Naloxone kits to 104 residents.
  • NYC Teens Connection (NYCTC): NYC Teens Connection brings together youth, parents, community-based organizations, schools, community clinics and citywide agencies in a comprehensive effort to reduce teen pregnancy. NYCTC works with 82 teen-friendly community clinics and school-based health centers, 146 schools, eight foster care agencies, 13 youth serving organizations and four colleges to provide evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention education and increases access to adolescent sexual health services.

“Health indicators such as life expectancy and infant mortality have improved for most Americans, but minorities are still disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases, death and disability,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “It remains critical that we continue to raise awareness and find solutions that promote health equity throughout our community, and today’s City health summit helps us achieve this goal. We must continue our efforts working together to build health equity today and healthier lives in the future.”

"Bronx residents face a number of environmental, institutional and social obstacles when it comes to safeguarding their health and it is crucial that we work together to remove these barriers. This event will give us the opportunity to identify where we need to place our resources and work as a collective to improve the health of the Bronx. I thank the NYC Health Department for spearheading this event and look forward to continue working with them and the local organizations who are leading the effort to improve the overall health outcomes of our borough," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera

“I am incredibly proud to support this event. It is a critical topic to discuss in our community and I encourage all to attend. We must work together and find solutions that work for our community. This is only possible with the participation of all the stakeholders. The commitment that these stakeholders share is much more than rising through the ranks from 62 but to improve our community because we deserve a healthier borough of the Bronx. I would like to thank my colleagues in government, local organizations, and the community for exemplifying the engagement we need to improve health outcomes. May we continue in this spirit of collaboration towards a healthier county,” said Assemblywoman Carmen E. Arroyo.

“Our fellow Bronxites deserve to live healthy and successful lives. The #Not62 summit and initiative are critical platforms to promote health in our community through access to quality healthcare and addressing the social determinants of health.  These factors have long had an outsized impact on health outcomes, especially among communities of color. I am encouraged by the multifaceted approach of addressing health disparities in The Bronx and across New York City by Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and her team, who should be commended for turning pain into promise.  I also commend Hostos Community College and its President Dr. David Gomez for once again being a cornerstone of where policies and practice unite to help and heal our South Bronx community. Achieving health equity means that we will address the root causes of health challenges but equally get the fair resources and support so that Bronx residents have a fair shot at a healthy life.  The health of our residents should not be determined by the block or zip code we call home.  Building health equity is how we continue #BuildingABetterBronx,” said Assemblyman Michael Blake.

“I am pleased that that the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is launching this initiative to improve health equity and promote healthy lifestyle in the Bronx. In the State Assembly, I have championed numerous anti-smoking laws and I currently sponsor legislation that would require sugary drinks to come with a warning label as well as legislation that would require vending machines on state property, like state parks, contain healthy food options.  I truly believe that building and promoting healthy lifestyles is vital to build a better Bronx and I will continue to fight in Albany to improve health equity and a healthy Bronx,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz.

“The #Not62 awareness campaign summit is a critical initiative that helps strengthen our community’s access to quality health care. By sharing new ideas and discussing regional and local challenges, we can find innovative solutions to improve the health of all Bronx residents. I’ll continue working with our community partners to ensure our hardworking families have access to affordable, high-quality health care and help eliminate this public health inequity,” said Assemblyman Victor Pichardo.

“Bronx residents deserve good health. Thanks to the work of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Center for Health Equity and the #not62 campaign, we have taken a holistic approach to health in the Bronx.  I commend DOHMH for implementing numerous creative and innovative programs and initiatives across the Bronx targeting everything from mental health awareness to healthy eating. Today's event provides important opportunity for government, community organizations, stakeholders and community members to come together, learn from one another, and collectively work towards a better, brighter, and healthier Bronx,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson.

Not62: Building Health Equity Summit

The summit’s opening panel, “What are City Agencies Doing to Build Health Equity?”, explores interagency approaches to reduce health disparities in the borough. The panel discussion is moderated by Dr. Jane Bedell, Assistant Commissioner of the Bronx Neighborhood Health Action Center, and features Barbara Turk, Director of the Mayor’s Office for Food Policy; Tom Finkelpearl, New York City Cultural Affairs Commissioner; Nivardo Perez, Bronx Borough Commissioner for the Department of Transportation; and Michael Hickey, Director of Strategy and Partnerships for the Office of Community Schools, New York City Department of Education. 

The Health Department’s Center for Health Equity

The Center for Health Equity (CHE) works toward a fair and healthy New York where all residents — regardless of their zip code — have the opportunity to lead their healthiest lives. As a division of the New York City Health Department, CHE strengthens the agency’s goal to eliminate health inequities, or unjust differences in health outcomes, for residents in neighborhoods impacted by racism and long-term disinvestment by organizations and institutions. The CHE Neighborhood Health Action Centers offer coordinated health and social services, as well as community programs under one roof. They also provide hubs for people to become involved in efforts to improve the health of their neighborhoods. For more information on the Center for Health Equity, visit


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