Partnering with communities to improve health: The New York City turning point experience
- Cite this article as:
- Cagan, E.R., Hubinsky, T., Goodman, A. et al. J Urban Health (2001) 78: 176. doi:10.1093/jurban/78.1.176
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Concurrent with the New York City Department of Health’s reorganization efforts, the Robert Wood Johnson and W.K. Kellogg Foundations launched Turning Point, a national initiative designed to strengthen the nation’s public health system. The Turning Point initiative has emphasized broad-based partnership building and planning as key prerequisites for improving public health practice. In response to the foundations’ request for proposals, the department formed a New York City Public Health Partnership, which in turn applied for and was granted a Turning Point planning grant. This funding allowed New York City Turning Point to initiate a public health planning process, part o f which involved convening forums in each of the five boroughs. With over 1,100 community participants, these forums provided both a starting point for establishing public health priorities and an interactive setting for sharing health and demographic data. Included among the issues that emerged as priorities were: access to care, environmental health, mental health, housing, asthma, education, and dietary issues. Building on the forum outcomes, the New York City Public Health Partnership developed a public health system improvement plan. The goals delineated in this plan are: (1) to create and support public health partnerships at the community, borough, and citywide levels; (2) to identify community health concerns and develop strategies responsive to these concerns; and (3) to develop policies to support and sustain a community health approach to improve health status. This article also discusses possible roles for local health departments in promoting a community health approach to address public health concerns.