In this edition of the Bronx Health REACH eblast:

We highlight, once again, that at the heart of transforming the communities of the Bronx and others across NYC into places of health and wellness is the power and force of those communities. It’s why we are sharing: the victory of Building Alcohol Ad-Free Transit (BAAFT) that won the removal of all alcohol ads from NYC MTA trains, buses, and stations; community partners showcasing, in a symposium, their work in communities across the city; faith based partners who, recognizing the power of the vote to enact necessary community change, went out and registered 300 Bronxites to vote; and Bronx City Council Members securing thousands of dollars for Health Bucks so that more Bronxites could afford to eat healthier. (The first dollars were secured by Council Member Ritchie Torres 3 years ago because 1,700+ Bronxites signed postcards advocating for more Health Bucks.)


Symposium Provides Forum for Community Based Organizations to Showcase Their Work

CDC Visits Bronx Health REACH and Partner Sites to Assess the Impact of the Three Year REACH Funding

MTA Board Votes to Ban Alcohol Ads on Subways, Buses and Trains

Office of Minority Health and Newman’s Own Foundation Award Grants

Faith Based Partners Lead Voter Registration Drives

Bronx City Council Members Increase Health Bucks Allocation

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 Symposium Provides Forum for

Community Based Organizations

to Showcase Their Work 

On September 27th Bronx Health REACH, along with the Center for the Study of Asian American Health at NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health, and Bronx Community Health Network, all grantees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant; and the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, a CDC Partnership to Improve Community Health (PICH) grantee hosted a symposium, “Community Transformation through Partnerships.” Over 150 people attended the forum that provided community based organizations such as Transportation Alternatives, Casita Maria and others to share strategies and initiatives designed and implemented to create opportunities for healthy living in communities with significant rates of racial and ethnic health disparities.
Opening the symposium was Dr. Ruth Petersen, Director for the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Petersen spoke about the REACH program improving the health of many Americans by providing 2 million people greater opportunities for choosing healthy foods and beverages, and 600,000 people with increased opportunities to be physically active as a result of environmental and policy improvements. Richard Hamburg from Trust for America’s Health and Dr. Susan Beane from Healthfirst were keynote speakers. Mr. Hamburg noted that the best long term investment is increasing CDC funding to programs such as REACH as doing so has been shown to improve the health and well-being of many communities. Dr. Beane discussed Healthfirst's efforts to merge health and social services to create and support a "Healthy Village" system of healthcare.
Bronx Health REACH partners were featured on two panels. On the Community Leadership and Engagement panel Erwin Figueroa, Bronx organizer for Transportation Alternatives spoke about the work of transforming the Grand Concourse into a Complete Street. And, on the Evaluation and Storytelling panel, Gail Heidel, Associate Director of Creative Arts Programs at Casita Maria, gave an overview of their projects painting murals on playgrounds in the South Bronx to encourage more outdoor physical activity. She also spoke about engaging residents to be active participants in the Bronx campaign to become ‘The World’s Strongest Borough’ utilizing the ‘Mobile Pull-Up Bar of Power.’
The final panel of the day was a unique conversation with funders and grantees discussing, from their respective perspectives, the expectations and efforts of each when trying to effect long term sustainable changes in communities disproportionately experiencing racial and ethnic health disparities. The panelists were Max Winer from New York University, Sarah Oltmans from Robin Hood Foundation, Nupur Chaudhury from the New York State Health Foundation, Linda Lee from Korean Community Services and Bronx Health REACH's Charmaine Ruddock. Charmaine focused her remarks on the importance of getting buy in from the community. "You can't have folks helicopter into the community and helicopter out; there has to be a commitment to the community."


CDC Visits Bronx Health REACH and

Partner Sites to Assess the Impact of

the Three Year REACH Funding

Janelle K. Gardner, Project Officer and Public Health Advisor for the CDC made a site visit to Bronx Health REACH in September. Bronx Health REACH staff and partners provided an update on the work done to date for the CDC REACH grant awarded in 2014 to increase access to healthy food and physical activity. During the first half of the site visit, the Bronx Health REACH staff and partners from Transportation Alternatives, Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, Mainland Media, Mount Zion CME Church, Cosmopolitan Church of the Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit Church presented on the various healthy eating and active living initiatives.
The afternoon half of the site visit included visiting several Bronx locations where initiatives have been implemented. These included a visit to the Institute for Family Health Mt. Hope Family Practice Health Center where Bronx Health REACH has worked with the staff to implement a Vegetable and Fruit Prescription program for obese patients. Ms. Gardner met and spoke with Mt. Hope staff about the implementation of the program. There were visits to two restaurants (Delmy Food Deli and Mexicocina), and to Fine Fair Supermarket, all of which are selling The Bronx Salad. The final visit of the afternoon was at the Bodega Association where Ms. Gardner met with the leaders of the Association and Julia Mair from the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc. (HITN), to discuss the work being done on the Healthy Bodega Initiative.

Bronx Health REACH thanks all our partners who participated in that successful CDC site visit. Ms. Gardner spoke glowingly of the impact of the work and especially of the partners involvement.


MTA Board Votes to Ban Alcohol Ads

on Subways, Buses and Trains

The Bronx Health REACH coalition celebrates Building Alcohol Ad-Free Transit’s (BAAFT) recent victory - the October 25th MTA vote to ban alcohol ads on subways, buses and trains. During the September 27th MTA Board meeting with BAAFT members in attendance, one of the MTA Board members made a motion to vote on BAAFT's proposal to amend the advertising policy to eliminate alcohol ads, but another MTA Board member countered that the MTA Board would need more information and delayed the vote. Thanks to the efforts of BAAFT and the Bronx Health REACH coalition members who gathered petition signatures, held rallies, and appeared at various MTA public hearings, the MTA voted in favor of banning all alcohol ads from the NYC transit system. This victory helps to assure that, at least in the transit system, New York City children will not be exposed to alcohol ads.

Office of Minority Health and Newman's

Own Foundation Award Grants

The Institute for Family Health/Bronx Health REACH has been awarded funding by the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement the Healthy Families, Healthy Children initiative in 22 Bronx churches. Funding by the OMH will enable Bronx Health REACH to launch an effort to help prevent and reduce obesity among children and adolescents in African American and Latino churches, several of whom are part of the 22 Bronx partner churches in the Bronx Health REACH Coalition. This program builds on Bronx Health REACH’s successful and popular faith-based, Fine, Fit and Fabulous, evidence-based program for adults which teaches nutrition and fitness utilizing faith based values, a group discussion format, and peer support in goal setting and achievement.

For the third year in a row, Newman's Own Foundation has awarded Bronx Health REACH with a grant to increase healthy eating in the South Bronx through nutrition education and food access initiatives. Funding will support healthy shopping tours and cooking demonstrations for patients participating in the Vegetable and Fruit Prescription program at the Institute’s health centers, provide technical support to bodega owners participating in the Healthy Bodega Program, and promote the Fresh Food Box program at the Institute's Stevenson Family Health Center.


Faith Based Partners Lead

Voter Registration Drives


With help from Bronx Health REACH's faith based partner churches, Deacon Dorothy Faison of Cosmopolitan Church of the Lord Jesus and Royal Eason of Friendly Baptist Church, more Bronx residents have become registered voters. Deacon Faison, along with members of Cosmopolitan Church (Pastor Robert L. Foley Sr., Deacon Palmer, Deacon Rose and Sister Robinson) led three voter registration drives from July to September. When they positioned themselves outside the Fordham Road 4 train station, most of the people they approached were already registered to vote, but many knew others that were not registered to vote and took the forms to give to them. Deacon Faison stated that with the help of one Spanish speaking parishioner, they were able to reach more people and distributed over 150 voter registration forms.

Royal Eason, a member of Friendly Baptist Church led a voter registration drive by himself in the Soundview Park area and at a neighborhood shopping mall. He distributed over 200 voter registration forms and was able to get those that were not registered to vote to fill out the forms right there, which he then dropped off at a Post Office near his home. Why did he go out and register voters? "I got tired of hearing people talk about how they are disgusted with all the bad things happening in their neighborhood. I would let those that were not registered to vote know that it was their duty to vote, and if they didn't vote they didn't get to say anything about how bad things are. A lot of people don't realize the power of what voting can do, and what you can and cannot get unless you vote."


Bronx City Council Members

Increase Health Bucks Allocation

Bronx residents shopping at Bronx farmers' markets had the opportunity to purchase more fruits and vegetables thanks to City Council Members Vanessa L. Gibson, Fernando Cabrera, Ritchie Torres and Rafael Salamanca who, from their respective budgets, collectively allocated $43,000 towards Health Bucks. Developed and distributed by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Health Bucks are paper vouchers worth $2 each that shoppers use to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers' markets. Bronx Health REACH thanks them all. Because of their funding so many more Bronx residents were able to purchase fresh produce from farmers’ markets including parents from several public schools working with Bronx Health REACH’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Initiative.


Kelly Moltzen and Emily Oppenheimer write about a NYC Department of Environmental Protection tour of the Croton watershed.


Moria Byrne-Zaaloff writes about a physical activity training for school aides using the Play With Purpose interactive program. 

Bronx Health REACH Upcoming Meetings


January 12th 1:30 to 3:30 PM
Cosmopolitan Church
39 West 190th St, Bronx, NY 10468


January 16th  3:30 to 5:30 PM
Morrisania WIC, Room 214
1225 Gerard Ave, Bronx, NY 10452


January 30th  4:00 to 6:00 PM
Walker Memorial Baptist Church
120 East 169th St, Bronx, NY 104528


March 2nd  9:30 AM to 12 PM
Walker Memorial Baptist Church
120 East 169th St, Bronx, NY 104528

Other Announcements


Take Action to Protect REACH
Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH), is the only federally funded program of its kind in the country, and as a community-driven program to end health disparities, is critical to improving the health of our communities. After 20 years of supporting the program, both the Senate and House are planning to eliminate all REACH funding. Strong community outreach to Congress members letting them know the impact REACH has had on the community is needed. Urge them to save this vital public health funding!


Online Survey 
A LGBTQ Needs Assessment Survey for the Bronx has been created to determine what services and amenities the LGBTQ population would like to see in the Bronx to provide better government, cultural, medical and other services. The survey can be taken online by clicking the link below. The online survey only takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and your responses will be confidential and any identifying information such as your name, email address or IP address will not be collected. 


School Meals Form Due Dec. 29 
In order to keep the free NYC public school lunch program going, all parents, regardless of income, must fill out a School Meals Form by December 29th so their neighborhood school may be able to receive federal funding for this program.


Awareness to Ensure PE 
The Phys Ed 4 All Coalition, of which Bronx Health REACH is a member has launched a video campaign about the challenges and opportunities for physical education in New York City, to ensure every student’s right to PE.  

Job Opportunities


Full Time Position 
The Program Assistant of the Bronx Health REACH Healthy Families, Healthy Children program will assist with the day to day tasks overseeing the family-centered, faith-based childhood obesity intervention project in 22 churches. S/he will assist in the recruitment of churches for participation in the project, participate in the training of the Peer Health Coordinators, and help churches implement the 12 week nutrition and physical activity sessions.  
Bronx Health REACH 
2006 Madison Avenue, NY NY 10035

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The Institute for Family Health · 2006 Madison Avenue · New York, NY 10035 · USA