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Montefiore in the News

March 26, 2015

The Bronx has improved since last year in a number of health categories in spite of ranking last in New York State in terms of health outcomes and health factors

March 26, 2015 – In a report issued this week, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranked the nation’s counties on various measures of health, and the Bronx ranked 62nd out of all 62 counties in New York State. Despite this ranking, Bronx County performed better in 2015 than in 2014 for a number of health outcomes and health factors, including fewer premature deaths, improved food environment, fewer sexually transmitted infections, a lower teen birth rate, more mental health providers, fewer preventable hospital stays, and a lower unemployment rate.

The Health Department, Montefiore Health System, the Bronx Borough President’s office and other partners have joined together to highlight the various programs that have helped lead to these improvements, and they have created a new social media hashtag #Not62 to encourage community partners and residents to join the discussion about creating a healthier Bronx.

“The health disparities that arise in the Bronx are a reminder that we need to do more to address the health needs of populations that face the most significant social, economic, and health challenges,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “With our partners in both the public and private sector, we have started to see improvements in some key areas, including Health Department programs designed to promote a healthier environment for school aged children. The Bronx District Public Health Office (DPHO), which is part of our newly created Center for Health Equity, has been a driving force in these improvements, and we are certain the work they are doing will continue to have a positive impact on the overall health of the Bronx.”

“The Bronx District Public Health Office has done a lot of work with our partners on how to effect change at the neighborhood level and reduce health disparities, but our work is far from done,” said Dr. Jane Bedell, Assistant Commissioner of the Bronx District Public Health Office. “We will continue to find new ways to bring all the stakeholders together on this, from residents, to community-based organizations, to faith-based organizations and elected officials so that together, we have a shared vision, a common agenda  and set of strategies to tackle these important issues.”

“The rankings are a call to action on the generation-spanning obstacles to good health that continue to face the Bronx, including poverty, unemployment and underemployment, and diminished access to education.  Every day, we see that improving health outcomes in the Bronx takes more than excellent health care. That is why for over a quarter of a century, Montefiore has partnered with Bronx communities, community-based service providers, the City Departments of Health and Education, elected officials, and the private sector to make steady progress in addressing the socioeconomic causes of the borough’s health challenges. We are grateful to Commissioner Bassett for her ongoing commitment to the health of New Yorkers and to Borough President Diaz for his tireless leadership on behalf of the borough.  Working together, with sustained investment, the people of the Bronx can lead the way to increased economic and educational opportunities - and better health - for all,” said Steven M. Safyer, MD, president and CEO of Montefiore Health System.

“I am encouraged by the tremendous borough wide partnerships working together to address our borough’s health rankings,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.“ We are fortunate to have the commitment of partners like the Bronx Health Reach and the CUNY Institute for Health Equity, in addition to the partners named here, to launch #Not62. This campaign aims to engage major stakeholders across multiple sectors to address the determinants of health, improve the health outcomes of Bronx residents, and have the Bronx move up in the county health ranking in 3-5 years.  In order to reach every person who lives, works, plays and prays in our borough, #Not62 employs social media encouraging all Bronxites to use Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram to post pictures of healthy habits on a daily basis. I am confident that we will continue to make progress and get ourselves out of last place!”

Watch the Health Rankings Video