The New York Academy of Medicine and NYC Health Department Launch RWJF-Funded Health Data for NYC (HD4NYC) Initiative

HD4NYC will advance actionable policy-relevant research to promote health equity by facilitating access to data and promoting multi-institutional research & mentorship

New York, NY (May 16, 2019) – The New York Academy of Medicine and the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, announce the launch of Health Data for New York City (HD4NYC), an innovative multi-institutional platform that will advance population health research to promote health equity. HD4NYC will focus on improving health equity in NYC through applied research that can be translated into policies and programs. This first-of-its-kind program facilitates access to Health Department data for a multidisciplinary group of early-career investigators and promotes collaboration among researchers from academic institutions, the Health Department, and the Academy through the establishment of research working groups. HD4NYC will also provide mentorship, collective learning, and training to enhance the productivity and career development of early- and mid-career researchers.

The initial two working groups will focus on health equity issues related to birth/childhood, such as birth equity and children’s environmental health, and marginalized populations, such as immigrants, people with criminal justice involvement, and the LGBTQ community. HD4NYC launched on March 22 at a kick-off event at the Health Department that brought together organizers, mentors, and early-career researchers who were selected through a competitive application process. The academic researchers represent the following 11 institutions in the New York metropolitan region: Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University School of Nursing, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Hunter College, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Long Island University School of Business, SUNY Downstate School of Public Health, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Weill Cornell Medical College. These researchers come from backgrounds spanning public health, medicine, engineering, psychology, global affairs, and social and public policy. The Health Department researchers provide expertise from eight divisions: Environmental Health, Emergency Preparedness, Epidemiology, Disease Control, Mental Hygiene, Family and Child Health, Primary Care and Prevention, and the Center for Health Equity.

Health Data for NYC is based on a successful research working group model that has been demonstrated in other settings to promote collaborative research and career development. In HD4NYC, working groups are composed of early-career academic and Health Department researchers and led by senior mentors. Monthly meetings, quarterly seminars, and annual workshops will provide a forum for investigators to present progress, share challenges, and build research and health policy skills. HD4NYC working groups will connect with content, policy, and data science experts throughout the research process to both produce impactful research products and strengthen the skills needed to communicate relevant findings to decision makers.

“HD4NYC has the potential to inform evidence-based policies and programs for New Yorkers in greatest need, and to nurture the careers of a diverse group of promising investigators,” said AcademyPresident Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS. “The program’s explicit focus on equity is central to our mission to drive progress towards improved health through attaining health equity.”

“In public health, data drives decision-making,” said Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, MD. “HD4NYC is an innovative, collaborative research platform that will enable the Health Department and academic institutions to inform equitable health policy for all in New York City.”

“Advancing health equity requires local, actionable data,” said Gina Hijjawi, PhD, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Better data, and increased collaboration on how to use it, will lead to data driven policies and programs that meaningfully improve health for people in New York City.”

The HD4NYC leadership team includes David Siscovick, MD, MPH, Senior Research Scientist at the Academy; Charon Gwynn, PhD, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Epidemiology, DOHMH; and Hannah Gould, PhD, Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Epidemiology Services, DOHMH. Drs. Siscovick, Gwynn, and Gould bring deep knowledge of the health needs of New Yorkers and DOHMH priorities to HD4NYC.

About The New York Academy of Medicine

Established in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine is dedicated to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life. Through our original research, policy and program initiatives we provide the evidence base to address the structural and cultural barriers to good health and drive progress toward health equity. This work and our one-of-a-kind public programming are supported by our world class historical medical library and our Fellows program, a unique network of more than 2,000 experts elected by their peers from across the professions affecting health. For more information visit .

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