Health Disparities Initiative Implemented

GOSHEN – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman are promoting the Department of Health grant that was awarded to the county by the State’s Department of Health to identify and address barriers to health to residents in the City of Newburgh.

According to Gelman, one health indicator to show the overall health of a population is premature death, which is death under the age of 65 years. The City of Newburgh’s premature death rate is 1.5 times higher than the total rate of Orange County (42.6 percent vs. 25.5 percent).

Listening sessions have been held throughout the city and residents turned out to provide their thoughts about their health to the Health Departments Community Health Outreach team. Mental Health/Chronic Stress, Housing & Transportation emerged as the 3 key barriers to health.

Although the three-year initiative concludes on September 30, 2020, the grant includes a Sustainability Plan, which will continue to assist city residents to improve their health. The Orange County Department of Health, Community Health Outreach Division continues to work with the City of Newburgh Housing Coalition, which is working to create a Housing Resource Guide, and the Newburgh Transportation Advisory Committee, which advocates for a safe and effective multi-modal transportation network for the city’s residents.

The county partnered with the Newburgh Free Library to establish a “Health Disparities” section in the library, which will house books, DVD’s and other materials on such topics as grief, trauma and resilience, and will be available for residents to check out. The library will also be offering yoga and mindfulness programs, providing complimentary yoga mats and personal journals for stress reduction. The library has planned to host forums on topics such as tenant’s rights and programs on bicycle safety. There will be materials and programs for all age groups and is slated to begin this Fall 2020.The grant will also provide funds to install a bike rack and “fix-it-station” at the library and is providing paint and glass beading to the City of Newburgh to improve the safety of more than 30 crosswalks throughout the city, which will align with the City’s Complete Streets Policy.

“I appreciate the work that is being conducted by the County’s Health Department as we are experiencing heightened concerns of health,” Neuhaus said. “This grant will help the health Department provide sustainable resources for City of Newburgh residents which will be beneficial to their health.”

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