"Public health is purchasable. Within natural limitations, a community can determine its own death rate."
- Hermann M. Biggs, NYC Department of Health, 1914
Under the leadership of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City has made improving citizen health a top priority. Over the last eight years, the rise in life expectancy of New Yorkers has substantially outpaced that of Americans as a whole. Since 2002, adult smoking has decreased by 27%, representing 350,000 fewer adult smokers, and the rate of smoking in public high school students has dropped by 52%. In 2008, the risk of dying from premature heart disease was 17% lower compared to 2002.
The NYC Health Department has accomplished this by developing and implementing bold ideas that transform public health. The Department is renowned for its data-driven focus and for effectively utilizing grant funding to expand the department's capacity to test, pilot and bring to scale non-traditional health policies and programs. Replication of NYC policies and programs is widespread. Below are examples of these successes:
Indeed, the NYC Health Department is a national leader in public health and much of this success is because of the Health Department's ability to build public-private partnerships through its non-profit partner, the Fund for Public Health in New York (FPHNY). We know this model can work, because it already has. Private funding has helped launch some of New York City's most important public health initiatives during the last eight years. FPHNY has helped channel more than $30 million of private funds into 58 NYC initiatives over the past seven years. Private funds have accomplished the following:
The NYC Health Department's work is not finished. The city still faces significant public health problems, ranging from obesity and diabetes to mental illness. We are poised to address these problems, but government alone cannot solve them. The economic downturn has sharply cut the funds available to support innovative public health initiatives in New York City. The need is great, but the potential for improving health further is even greater. If the private sector will support continued innovation in public health, the second decade of this century can be as ground-breaking as the first. Learn more about how you can support the innovative work of the NYC Health Department.