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NYU Langone Launches Office to Enhance Hospitals’ Role in Improving Community Health

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant Promotes Collaboration between Health Systems & Communities to Improve Health and Wellbeing

Hospitals across the country are increasingly collaborating with community partners to address the economic and social factors that greatly influence everyday health, such as housing, transportation, and employment. Given the complexity of this task—and driven by incentives from a growing number of payment and delivery system reforms—hospital leaders often seek help in prioritizing, implementing, and determining the success of local population health-improvement activities.

For this reason, the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health is establishing the Office for Enhancing Hospitals’ Role in Improving Community Health, funded by a major grant of close to $800,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The office will explore and assess how hospitals and healthcare systems currently use resources to effect change beyond their walls, and will provide thought leadership on how to most effectively work with their surrounding communities to improve health outcomes. The office will do this by tracking and synthesizing trends, innovative approaches, and evidence from healthcare systems across the country; supporting and sharing learning among hospital leaders and groups working to improve population health; and providing guidance to RWJF on opportunites to leverage efforts across the country.

“The Office for Enhancing Hospitals’ Role in Improving Community Health reflects NYU Langone Health’s own culture and aspirations to go beyond the walls of our healthcare system so that we not only treat sickness, but help our patients and community stay well,” says co-director Leora Horwitz, MD, associate professor of population health and medicine at NYU Langone and director of its Center for Healthcare Innovation and Delivery Science.

“We are pleased to have been selected to play this important role in assisting the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and hospitals and health systems across our country to most effectively work with their surrounding communities and improve health outcomes,” adds co-director James Knickman, PhD, clinical professor of population health at NYU Langone and the Derzon Clinical Professor at NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

“Hospitals and health systems can and do play a critical role in improving the health and wellbeing of their communities, especially in their ability to address the social and economic factors at the root of health inequities,” said Abbey Cofsky, RWJF director of Healthy Communities.

“We have long recognized hospitals and health systems as key community anchors, partners and leaders in advancing a Culture of Health,” Anne Weiss, RWJF director of Transforming Health and Health Care Systems, adds.

NYU Langone Health is a national leader in  bridging its healthcare system with surrounding communities through a variety of academic, clinical, and outpatient efforts, including:

  • a fully accredited, academic Department of Population Health , which oversees partnerships and multidisciplinary research into healthcare delivery, social determinants of health, health policy, and quantitative health outcomes analysis methods
  • NYU Langone Health’s Community Service Plan, which works on initiatives designed and implemented in partnership with Manhattan- and Brooklyn-based neighborhood organizations, such as reducing childhood obesity and working with high-risk populations on smoking cessation
  • the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone, which provide high-quality, affordable outpatient primary healthcare and support services as one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Center networks in the nation, with 9 primary care sites, 11 homeless shelter sites, 37 school-based health and dental clinics, and a myriad of social support and enabling services
  • NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, which participates in the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment, or DSRIP, a 5-year, federal and state-funded partnership between the hospital and more than 200 primary care and mental health providers, social service organizations, nursing homes, pharmacies, and other community-based organizations

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