New York City Council Members, Vanessa L. Gibson and Fernando Cabrera have endorsed Neighborhood Health Plan recommendations put forth by the Jerome Avenue Public Health Task Force.
These was announced in a press statement released in 20th October, 2020.
The recommendations were drafted after 18 months of meetings with both Council Members, the Bronx Neighborhood Health Action Center of the NYC Health Department and various community stakeholders after the passage of the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan.
The recommendations are organized into six overarching domains of education, public outdoor spaces, healthcare quality and access, food environment, housing and local economic development to improve the health of the residents along the Jerome Avenue corridor.
Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson said, “The Neighborhood Health Plan Recommendations put forth by the Jerome Public Health Task Force are a testament to what can be accomplished through a partnership between community and government,”
She explained that since the passage of the Jerome Neighborhood Plan, the team have worked tirelessly to engage residents, business owners, community organizations and other stakeholders to develop a cohesive and comprehensive plan to address systemic health inequities along the Jerome corridor that contribute to high rates of diabetes, asthma and hypertension and lower life expectancy.
According to Gibson, the recommendations are the cumulation of 18 months of input from the community to holistically address health disparities along the Jerome corridor and could serve as a blueprint for the rest of the borough.
Gibson expressed her appreciation to the Jerome Public Health Task Force, the Neighborhood Health Plan DOHMH`s Center for Health Equity, her colleague Council Member Cabrera, and all of the community partners that helped put the plan together.
Council Member Fernando Cabrera also expressed her delight in the success of the work done through the Jerome Avenue Public Health Task Force.
She explained that public health is a critical part of the re-imagining and rebuilding of the community “whose current land use pattern is almost 100 years old, and as evidenced by the public health outcomes in our community, is not supporting our people.”
“Affordable housing, light, accessible green spaces,community facilities, clean air, and availability of healthy foods, are critical for health.” she added.
The Jerome Avenue Public Health Task Force was brought into existence as stipulated in the Points of Agreement document signed by Deputy Mayor Glen on March 6, 2018 as part of the Jerome Avenue Rezoning Process.
Meetings were held from December 2018 – January 2020 to discuss the health disparities within community districts 4 and 5 and the systemic inequality that contributes to poor health outcomes for residents along the corridor.
For years, the Bronx has been tied to high rates of diabetes, asthma and hypertension and other illnesses that contribute to the borough ranking as the unhealthiest county in the state.
This was further exacerbated during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York, when Bronx residents died at higher rates than in other boroughs.
Although the recommendations were decided on prior to the pandemic, it still offers a blueprint to address the health inequities that contributed to high mortality rates in the Bronx.