New York State Health Foundation’s (Prevention) Agenda

As Obamacare kicks in, and states move beyond the fight for universal coverage, many are focusing new energy on the challenge of actually making people healthier.

New York State has a plan on this front: A "Prevention Agenda" that has been put forth by the state's Deparment of Health which calls it a “blueprint for state and local action to improve the health of New Yorkers in five priority areas, reducing avoidable illness and health disparities in communities.”

The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is strongly committed to advancing the prevention agenda through direct funding to innovative local health departments and other steps. As the foundation sees things, investing in prevention delivers huge bang for the buck, avoiding much bigger medical care expenses later.

In turn, NYSHealth is looking to the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) for help with this work, and has awarded the organization a $400,000 grant.

The Prevention Agenda kicked off in 2013 and is scheduled to continue its mission until 2017. In the beginning, New York’s local health departments and major hospitals filed action plans toward the implementation of the Agenda. One upshot of this initial work was that local healthcare departments and their partners needed guidance in regard to the successful implementation of the Prevention Agenda. That’s where the NYAM comes in.

NYAM has a long history of success in working with the New York State Department of Health in the areas of training and technical assistance. The organization will be providing health departments and hospitals with technical assistance, collaborative learning help, and training programs. NYSHealth’s $400,000 will support NYAMs work, which is expected to conclude in April, 2016.

Speaking about the Prevention Agenda and the NYSHealth’s support of NYAM, Martinez Garcel, vice president of the foundation said: “We look forward to working with leaders from across the State to advance policies that make it easier for New Yorkers to make the right choices and live in environments that lead to healthier lives.”

The Prevention Agenda currently assigns different health priorities according to each county. The major healthcare issues addressed in the Agenda are:


  • Chronic disease
  • Mental health and substance abuse
  • Women, infants, and children
  • Environment
  • HIV, STD, and vaccines


Chronic disease along with mental health and substance abuse are the leading priority areas with around 30 counties naming chronic disease as its number one Prevention Agenda priority and about 20 for mental health and substance abuse.

NYAM will be help to implement evidence-based programs, health policies and practices across the state toward improving the overall health of New York residents. One of the New York State Department of Health’s goals of the Agenda is to reduce not only healthcare costs, but Medicaid budgets as well. Thorough the Prevention Agenda, the Department of Health is also working toward eliminating racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic healthcare disparities—which is also one of the principal goals of NYAM.

NYAM’s Health Policy department focuses on urban healthcare to support healthy aging, promote public health, prevent diseases and eliminate health disparities. The organization brings healthcare stakeholders together, including policymakers, local communities and researchers, to suss out the main causes of health outcomes. It then uses this information to influence and improve urban health policies toward reducing existing healthcare disparities.

Other departments within NYAM that also work to improve health outcomes include Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health, Office of School Health Programs, Center for Evaluation and Applied Research, Center for Health Innovation, and the Center for History of Medicine and Public Health.

NYSHealth also aims to improve the health of all New Yorkers, but does so mainly through its three priority grantmaking programs: Expanding Health Care Coverage, Improving Diabetes Prevention and Advancing Primary Care. Other areas of grantmaking focus at NYSHealth include its Veterans Health Program and Special Projects Fund. (Read IPs NYSHealth Profile)