STATEN ISLAND, NY – As part of efforts to restructure New York City’s health care system in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio is launching the NYC Public Health Corps (PHC) – an initiative to promote health equity and increase the public health workforce.
The mayor announced the new initiative on Wednesday during his press briefing.
“We are going to employ thousands of New Yorkers with this effort from the communities most affected by the challenges of COVID, and that will say something very clearly, in New York we believe healthcare is a human right,” said de Blasio. ” It’s that simple. Health care is a human right, but we don’t talk about it, we do it. Guaranteed health care for all, a leading public health body with the ability to reach people like never before. “
PHC, led by NYC Health + Hospitals and the Department of Health, will build on the work of NYC Health + Hospitals’ Test and Trace Corps using an extensive network of city-wide partnerships and local organizations to reach those hardest hit by the pandemic and most affected by inequalities in the health system.
“Our tracers have been successful in keeping our city safe because they understand our communities because they are from our communities. I’m excited to be here today to help launch the new Public Health Corps, which will be an amazing way to leverage all the skills and experiences our contact tracers have gained over the past year to become effective community health workers. Said Ted Long, executive director of NYC Test and Trace Corps.
“The Public Health Corps will build on everything we have created through Test and Trace, with our community health workers being the backbone of this new program that will make New York City stronger and healthier than ever.” , Long continued.
Health Commissioner Dr Dave Chokshi explained that PHC will be an integral part of the city’s restructuring of its health system to address current inequalities and prepare for future crises.
“The Public Health Corps will seize this moment, building on the hard work already being done in our communities to fight this pandemic and also prepare for future emergencies. As COVID continues to shed light on health inequalities, particularly inequalities related to structural racism, it is clear that the solution lies in the strength of our communities, ”said Chokshi.
New SSP initiatives will include:
- COVID-19 Disparities Initiative will provide grants to community organizations (CBOs) to assemble teams of community health workers (CHWs) to serve in their local neighborhoods to improve access to coronavirus prevention and treatment services and meet the social needs of communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
- COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Educators will work with residents and staff at the Homeless Services Department’s assembly facilities to increase confidence in immunization.
- Extended access to the carWe will provide funding to federally licensed health centers to expand primary care services and COVID vaccinations in neighborhoods with less health infrastructure
- Training and apprenticeship of community health workers will allow members of Vaccine for All Corps to be trained in partnership with CUNY, Dept. of Small Business Services, and CBOs to become ASC
- Help patients achieve their health goals: More than 200 CHWs will be based in NYC H + H outpatient clinical sites to provide health services to support home patients with basic needs such as food, income and shelter.
The PHC network will include 100 CBOs, including those already partnering the city for vaccine education and awareness through the T2CBO program and the COVID-19 vaccine partner engagement project with the Fund for Public Health. At New York. By December, PHC will involve more than 500 CHWs. PHC’s $ 235 million funding includes a two-year, $ 35 million grant from CDC.
COLUMBIA TO OPERATE AN INSTITUTE FOR PANDEMIC RESPONSE
During the press conference, the mayor also announced that Columbia University has been selected to manage the Pandemic Response Institute (PRI).
“It’s a big step forward and we have the right people for this big responsibility. The city will initially invest $ 20 million in the Pandemic Response Institute to boost this effort. The world famous Columbia University is exactly the right place to host it, ”said de Blasio.
“And that will prepare us, protect us against potential pandemics in the future, help us stop the pandemic of the future, or in the worst case, manage them in a way we’ve never been able to do before,” while, at the same time, recognizing the real issue of inequity that arose during COVID and that must be resolved, ”added the mayor.
Columbia will operate the PRI in partnership with the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, as well as other local community, research and industry partners.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to the critical need for strong and dynamic multisectoral partnerships to effectively protect New Yorkers from emerging health threats,” said Wafaa El-Sadr, university professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and director of ICAP and Columbia World Projects, which heads the PRI.
“The Pandemic Response Institute will create an unprecedented link for engagement, expertise and resources across our city and beyond, enabling us to prepare, predict, prevent, detect, respond and recover fairly from major health emergencies, ”El-Sadr added.