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Community Food Advocates has just completed a new report of the first year of the Universal School Lunch program, with a deep dive into how the program has worked in high schools - where the students have been the hardest to reach. We visited high schools in all five boroughs, totaling 132 high schools in 54 buildings. We met with school administrators, cafeteria staff and students. Our visits to high schools helped us identify practices that can promote the program and encourage students to eat school lunch. These findings form the basis of our recommendations to the Chancellor, the Office of Food and Nutrition Services and school administrators.We are pleased to report that high school students' participation increased by 15.2% - with little public promotion of the program. And high schools with the new Food Court-style cafeteria redesign increased participation by 31%! That is why significantly expanding the number of schools with the cafeteria redesign model remains a high priority for the Lunch 4 Learning Campaign.
This report is the culmination of observations of 11 Eldercare Dialogues, 15 in-depth interviews with Dialogue organizers and participants, and six focus groups, one with each participating organization. It explores the experiences of caregivers and care recipients in the movement to transform long-term care and ensure that caregivers and recipients have the support they need to age and work with dignity. The full report includes a toolkit so other communities can learn from and replicate the Dialogue process.
More Than a Home: How Affordable Housing for New Yorkers Living with HIV/AIDS Will Prevent Homelessness, Improve Health and Reduce CostsMay 17, 2013
The near-universal standard for affordable housing requires that tenants pay no more than 30 percent of their income towards rent. In New York State, only one low-income housing program denies tenants this standard affordable housing protection -- the HIV/AIDS rental assistance program.Low-income people living with HIV/AIDS and their families in New York City's "independent living" rental assistance program are forced to pay upwards of 70 percent of their disability income towards rent, well above what is considered affordable housing or a sustainable rent share burden. As a result, hundreds of low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS are homeless and thousands more are on the brink of losing their homes. In addition, chronically ill people are forced to make difficult trade-offs between medical care, food and other essential needs in order to pay their rent each month.Many are unable to continue this difficult balancing act and become homeless, with all the risks to their health -- and to HIV prevention efforts -- that homelessness entails. Homelessness can be a virtual a death sentence for a person living with HIV/AIDS. It jeopardizes the success of other interventions to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic, making it harder for people living with HIV/AIDS to adhere to medication and medical appointments, adopt proper nutrition, and practice safer sex and other forms of HIV prevention.A simple solution -- and one that has broad bi-partisan support in the state legislature -- is to ensure that homeless and formerly homeless people living with HIV/AIDS pay no more than 30 percent of their income towards their rent if they already qualify for rental assistance. This report outlines why this is not only humane and just, but also a highly effective public health intervention that will produce cost-savings for taxpayers.
Just over six months ago, Hurricane Sandy hit the shores of New York, bringing floods and standing water to neighborhoods across the tri-state area. But if the destructive capacity of flooding and water damage was bad, it soon became clear homeowners were faced with an even greater threat. Flooded homes not dried out within 24 to 48 hours were at serious risk of developing mold infestations, threatening the health and safety of thousands of New Yorkers. At the end of January 2013, city administrators created the privately funded Neighborhood Revitalization NYC program ("NRNYC" or "the program") to remediate 2,000 homes, responding to growing reports of mold contamination in the press.The organizations that drafted this report have engaged with the City and the non-governmental agency administering the Neighborhood Revitalization NYC program throughout the several months it has existed, and have been able to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the program. The city and program administrators have been extremely open to feedback, and many obstacles have been improved because of that openness. However, as the results of this study indicate, for a variety of reasons, the city's current approach to mold remediation post-Sandy needs expansion and improvement. Six months later, the acute need for mold remediation across New York City has not abated, and mold's disproportionate impact on low-income and immigrant communities has resulted in displacement, sickness, and continued crisis in Sandy-affected neighborhoods. Major community-based organizations with roots in those neighborhoods have stepped in to help construct solutions. Members of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding, a coalition of labor unions and community, faith-based, environmental and policy organizations across New York, have begun to survey residents in order to meaningfully assess the post-Sandy mold crisis across the city. In March and April, Faith in New York (formerly Queens Congregations United for Action), Make the Road NY, and New York Communities for Change conducted phone and door-to-door surveys across the Rockaways and in Staten Island, reaching almost 700 households. Feedback from residents forms the basis for this report's analysis of the threat of mold in hurricane-ravaged neighborhoods and our recommendations on how city leaders should respond to the crisis.
Every New Yorker should understand his or her prescription medication labels and should have safe access to prescription medications. Make the Road New York (MRNY), Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) have championed the issue of safe access to prescription medications in New York State by advocating for the passage of legislation designed to address patient safety. As a result of our efforts, the efforts of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT), and the New York State Legislature, pharmacy language access and label standardization legislation (SafeRx) was passed in the New York State Budget in April 2012. This is the first state law of its kind in the United States, propelling New York as a leader in protecting consumers.While enactment of SafeRx has been a tremendous victory, the New York State Board of Pharmacy (SBOP), comprised of pharmacy industry representatives, is tasked with developing regulations to implement SafeRx before it goes into full effect. In response, we are producing this report to make recommendations that balance consumer interests with industry interests and that are based on medical literature and industry best practices. In Part One, our report describes what is required under SafeRx and includes answers to frequently asked questions about SafeRx. In Part Two we discuss our SafeRx recommendations.
Healthy Workers, Healthy Businesses: A Small Business Analysis of Earned Paid Sick Time in New York CityMay 1, 2012
This report examines small business considerations in relation to New York City's earned paid sick time proposal. It combines data from a review of existing research on the costs and benefits of a paid sick leave policy with statements from local small business owners sharing their experiences and views on earned paid sick time.
Planting Seeds of Change: Strategies for Engaging Asian Pacific Americans in Healthy Eating and Active Living InitiativesMay 1, 2012
This 23-page report draws on results from an innovative technique called Photovoice involving 28 community members, community-level data of 308 surveys, as well as extensive input from key stakeholders. Planting Seeds of Change highlights the complexity of engaging Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) in healthy eating and active living efforts. It discusses the opportunities and challenges of a community who has a long agrarian history and ties to the food system. It also discusses issues that come with living as an immigrant and resident in a large metropolitan area. The development of community gardens for Asian Pacific Americans was prioritized as a strategy for addressing access to healthy food, physical activity, and public open spaces.Policy recommendations call for increasing initiatives, funding, and trainings that (1) support and integrate cultural competency into community gardens' outreach, planning, and growing, (2) utilize stewardship programs to increase creation of community gardens, and (3) promote community gardens as a model for leadership development programs. Practice recommendations call for incorporating best practices that community gardens can use to increase participation of APAs in healthy food and active living initiatives, such as site assessments, intensive planning sessions with community, workshops on traditional methods and local sustainability, multi-sectoral collaboration, and creation of sustainability plans.
This report reveals findings from two separate surveys of NYC sex workers, including a survey conducted in 2010 by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOMH) that was FOILed by Human Rights Watch and is only now being released. Both studies found that police routinely confiscate condoms from sex workers; that sex workers often do not carry condoms for fear of police repercussions; and that some sex workers engage in sex work without condoms following police confiscation.
The report offers policymakers 10 recommendations to protect patient privacy as New York state develops a centralized system for sharing electronic medical records. Those recommendations include:Require that the electronic systems employed by HIEs have the capability to sort and segregate medical information in order to comply with guaranteed privacy protections of New York and federal law. Presently, they do not.Offer patients the right to opt-out of the system altogether. Currently, people's records can be uploaded to the system without their consent.Require that patient consent forms offer clear information-sharing options. The forms should give patients three options: to opt-in and allow providers access to their electronic medical records, to opt-out except in the event of a medical emergency, or to opt-out altogether.Prohibit and sanction the misuse of medical information. New York must protect patients from potential bad actors--that small minority of providers who may abuse information out of fear, prejudice or malice.Prohibit the health information-sharing networks from selling data. The State Legislature should pass legislation prohibiting the networks from selling patients' private health information.
Communicating Effectively about Support Service Information: What works with Teens Seeking Help for Violence in their Lives?January 1, 2012
The Alliance is researching the effectiveness of the NYC Teen Health Map to address the problem of lack of adequate information for teens regarding access to health services. The Alliance initiated this project in February, 2006 by organizing four focus groups with teens to determine an effective means for developing and distributing resource information to young people. Youth emphasized that the more functional and practical the product, the more likely they are to keep it and use it in the future. The Alliance used this information to develop the NYC Teen Health Map, a foldable pocket subway map on one side and comprehensive adolescent-friendly services resource guide on the back. After its distribution to four high schools and several youth-serving organizations in NYC in fall 2006, the Alliance conducted a qualitative evaluation of the Map's utility and appeal to the youth that have received the map and gathering youth input about any revisions that should be made. The main objective of this study is to revise the NYC Teen Health Map based on youth feedback. Revisions may include changing the language, clarifying options for teens, and/or changing the layout and appearance of the Map to make it more useful for teens.
Beyond Methadone: Improving Health and Empowering Patients in Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) - Hepatitis C, Overdose Prevention, Syringe Exchange, Buprenorphine, & Other Opportunities to Make Programs Work for PatientsOctober 6, 2011
Over the last three decades, the War on Drugs has stripped people of myriad rights, blocked life-saving public health policies and created new social problems, such as housing and job discrimination. The negative consequences of criminalization are not felt equally, as communities of color and low-income people are much more likely to be targeted for drug-related law enforcement. Increasingly, New York has recognized that drug use is more effectively addressed through a health and safety approach, rather than a criminal-justice approach. One important example is Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs), which offer methadone and buprenorphine (synthetic opioids) to people who are dependent on heroin and other opioids. Methadone treatment has been shown to be highly effective in reducing the risk of HIV and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), drug overdose and incarceration while also improving a person's quality of life. In fact, nearly 30,000 New York City residents rely on methadone maintenance treatment to manage their dependence on heroin and other opioids. Policymakers and public health officials should devote attention to improving OTPs for several reasons. First, serious health issues affecting active and former drug users, such as HCV and overdose, can be mitigated through effective methadone programs. Second, drug-policy reforms have diverted people into treatment programs over prison. Third, growing interest in reducing Medicaid spending has drawn attention to effective treatments for drug use and related harms. Lastly, the New York Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (OASAS), the state oversight agency, may soon be consolidated with other state agencies, opening up the possibility for review of its programs. While methadone can reduce government spending and improve public health, VOCAL New York (VOCAL-NY) has identified a number of concerns related to the provision of care at OTPs in New York City. Accordingly, with the research support of the Community Development Project (CDP) of the Urban Justice Center, VOCAL-NY conducted the current study to gather detailed data from the perspective of OTP patients on the key challenges and opportunities for OTPs in New York City.
Provides background on Medicaid's long-term support program and offers historical context on the creation of the spousal impoverishment protections, initially available only to heteosexual married copules. This paper also examines how older LGBT couples face numerous financial and social barriers as they age, both nationwide and in New York State, and are thus highly reliant on support from Medicaid and similar programs. Based on this overview, this brief offers recommendations for New York on the specific actions necessary to enact the estate protections explicitly outlined in the CMS letter.
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