Since its creation as the Board of Health in 1805, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has set the national standard for public health. DOHMH has been a leader in utilizing community-level survey and epidemiologic data, cutting-edge information technology, and evidence-based and evidence-informed practices to prioritize and address the health issues of ultimate importance to NYC’s 8.4 million residents. DOHMH balances its role of protecting and promoting the health of all New Yorkers with the rights of those individuals to determine their own health-related behaviors, and achieves this balance by investing in public health interventions that work with communities to change the environmental context, making healthy options the default choice, regardless of education, income, and socioeconomic status. The new Center for Health Equity (CHE) aims to ensure that all New Yorkers have equitable opportunities to achieve optimal health by fostering partnerships with community residents and other city agencies, supporting community power, and building organizational capacity to address the social, environmental, and systemic factors that contribute to health inequities in NYC. CHE puts its values into practice by leveraging relationships to implement neighborhood-based health initiatives, promoting collaborations across communities and sectors, using data to inform policy and planning, building internal and external capacity to address outcomes through a lens of health equity, and making the case for health equity in all public health initiatives.
New York City Teens Connection (NYCTC) is an adolescent sexual health program of the Center for Health Equity (CHE) within the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). NYCTC is an expansion of Bronx Teens Connection, scaling up this successful community-based model to reach more youth throughout NYC. By engaging youth, parents, youth-serving professionals, schools, clinics, community-based organizations, and citywide agencies in a comprehensive effort to improve adolescent sexual health, NYCTC helps youth in NYC learn about their sexual and reproductive health, access the information and resources they need to make healthy decisions, and feel empowered to act on these decisions.
NYCTC works through partnerships and existing systems to bring evidence-based sexual health education programs and clinic linkages annually to 15,000 young people ages 13-20. NYCTC reaches young people with 3 evidence-based sexual health education programs – Reducing the Risk, Teen Health Project, and Seventeen Days – across 7 settings – Traditional High Schools, Transfer High Schools, International High Schools, Healthcare Clinics, Foster Care Agencies, Colleges, and Youth-Serving Organizations (YSOs). All high schools, foster-care agencies, colleges and YSOs are also linked to local “teen-friendly” clinics that provide high quality sexual and reproductive health services to young people; instructors will incorporate a visit to the linked clinic within Reducing the Risk and Teen Health Project in the school settings. Additionally, building upon existing relationships between DOHMH and community organizations, local leaders and other stakeholders, NYCTC has established local Community Action Teams (CATs) and Youth Leadership Teams (YLTs) in each of the priority communities. These community bodies inform the program work, encourage systems-based changes, and help disseminate information throughout the priority communities. Lastly, an evaluation plan that includes regular monitoring of key process and outcome measures for each component provides the basis for continual improvements.
Since its creation as the Board of Health in 1805, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has set the national standard for public health. DOHMH has been a leader in utilizing community-level survey and epidemiologic data…