With deep roots in Harlem and the Bronx, where asthma prevalence rates are among the highest in New York City and the nation, AIRnyc grew from a 2001 asthma initiative into the social enterprise it is today with its current expertise, trusted reputation, and strong partnerships built over that 17-year period. For AIRnyc, health starts at home with trusted services provided by experienced Community Health Workers to create a network of care for vulnerable New Yorkers. AIRnyc staff are personally and culturally linked to the families they serve and speak the languages of the community, including Spanish, French, Mandingo, and Susu.
Established by an innovative partnership among the Harlem Children’s Zone, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health-Department of Biostatistics, and Harlem Hospital, the initiative originally set a two-fold goal to address the high prevalence of asthma in Harlem and to contribute to community-based participatory research. The resulting work highlighted exemplary leadership in the field and established a model for high quality, cost-effective practice in population health interventions that seek to address the social determinants of disease in vulnerable communities.
Today, AIRnyc provides services citywide through strong partnerships with managed-care organizations (MCOs), major hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), social service organizations, government agencies, and schools. AIRnyc has been a leader in New York State Medicaid reform for the past three years during the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) process, gaining state-wide recognition as a can-do Community Based Organization (CBO) helping New York City’s neediest families learn to manage their asthma and related challenges.
AIRnyc has developed dynamic, sophisticated data-management systems as well as rigorous analytical capabilities in order to perform at this level. Funding partners such as the Robin Hood Foundation and the New York Community Trust have helped us to scale our operations during the evolution of our model while remaining true to our core values and commitment to health equity and social justice. The organization’s investment in and commitment to the development of a viable workforce of trained, local health professionals largely from the communities we serve, combined with our results, has earned AIRnyc significant recognition.