The Family Health Centers at NYU Langone in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, has been awarded a $24 million federal grant through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to advance COVID-19 vaccination and education and expand access to high-quality comprehensive care in some of New York City’s lowest-income neighborhoods.
The 2-year grant is part of a $350 billion relief package allocated to state and local governments to help individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant is the second largest awarded in New York State, and Family Health Centers at NYU Langone is 1 of 63 Federally Qualified Health Centers that received funds to bolster community-based healthcare.
“Strengthening healthcare infrastructure in underserved communities through this visionary plan improves New York City’s health status overall,” says Larry K. McReynolds, executive director of the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone. “This significant award recognizes the merit of each program outlined in our grant proposal and enables us to do much more to make a difference in thousands of lives.”
The funding fortifies a range of programs at the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone, including the following:
- COVID-19 education and vaccination: Increase community outreach, testing, and treatment.
- Behavioral health staff and services expansion: Bolster an over-burdened network of mental health services and professionals by enhancing access to behavioral health screening, telehealth, and in-person treatment; improving care coordination and crisis response; supporting efforts to reduce substance abuse and social stresses; and reaching more New Yorkers who lack housing.
- Technology upgrades that impact community health: Strengthen technology infrastructure, including testing equipment for chronic conditions exacerbated by COVID-19; increase access to broadband internet; provide computer hardware; and facilitate call center upgrades to improve the Family Health Center at NYU Langone’s ability to efficiently assess and direct patients to services.
- Dental assistant training and care: Resume the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone dental assistant education program, which was paused at the onset of COVID-19; grow enrollment to expand the pipeline of dental assistants who serve the surrounding community; and strengthen screening and oral health services for children and adults.
- Pediatric and adult pulmonary programs: Enhancing lung disease screening, treatment, and prevention, and add new state-of-the-art pulmonary care equipment.
- Social determinants of health: Expand community outreach programs, including job training, childcare, community health education programs, vaccine access, and The Table Food Pantry and emergency food distribution.
- Broaden access to primary care services: Increase COVID-19–related support using nurse practitioners and community health workers to better manage care for high-risk patients with diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic conditions, and expand medical and behavioral health services to five additional New York City shelters for people who lack housing.
- Support community-based partners: A portion of the grant dollars has been designated to support local partners that provide medical and behavioral healthcare to historically underserved populations, including at-risk youth, unhoused individuals, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, among others; and address social determinants of health.
“This grant recognizes that our community is in desperate need of resources that contribute to wellness and overall wellbeing, including access to high-quality healthcare, social, educational, and emotional support,” says Isaac P. Dapkins, MD, chief medical officer at the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone. “The breadth and scope of programs supported by this award will allow us to reach more people through the pandemic and beyond.”
“Our community faces many healthcare challenges amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, who helped secure the federal funding. “The American Rescue Plan funding ensures the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone continues their important work, providing crucial services during an unprecedented time.”
Principally located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, one of the highest Medicaid-concentrated communities in the United States, the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone is a community-based program that provides high-quality primary and preventive outpatient care to adults and children, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status. The program serves approximately 100,000 people each year throughout Brooklyn and other parts of New York City.