Harlem Health Initiative

CUNY SPH Harlem Neighborhood

Harlem Health Initiative

Science Based, Community Driven

A newly launched program of the City of University of New York Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy (CUNY SPH) the Harlem Health Initiative (HHI) has one aim: to improve the health and wellbeing of the Harlem community by supporting its existing community-based organizations.

CUNY SPH is New York City’s only public school of public health, with a vision of promoting health and social justice in NYC and across the globe through innovation and leadership. As a Harlem neighbor located at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Malcolm X Avenue, the school has committed to providing and enhancing health services to our shared community.

First listen to the community!

The Harlem Health Initiative’s very first step is already underway: a comprehensive process of listening to community stakeholders to develop a full understanding of the health-related needs of the Harlem community and learning everything we can about the existing service organizations that aim to address those needs.

Provide support where it’s most needed and can achieve the greatest effect

Based on this assessment we will identify a cohort of organizations who are addressing the most urgent needs of the community and can best benefit from the supportive services available through CUNY SPH. Selected organizations will then be enrolled in a comprehensive and integrated program of support.

  • Technical assistance with research, evaluation, and data management
  • Facilitating opportunities for inter-agency collaboration and shared resources
  • Communications training to ensure key messages reach their target audience
  • Operational training, including finance, information technology, and human resources
  • Training in fundraising, grant writing, and grant management
  • Placement of graduate student interns to provide support in these areas and more

Our faculty have expertise in a broad range of urban health issues, including maternal, child, and reproductive health, obesity and diabetes, HIV prevention and treatment, opioid use disorder and Hepatitis C prevention and treatment, food policy, and the built environment, to name just a few.

Planning and Outreach

Since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City in March, we have continuously compiled and shared public health resources via email and social media with Harlem community-based organizations and Harlem Community Boards 10 and 11.

On June 5-8 CUNY SPH expanded its ongoing COVID-19 tracking survey to do a deeper look at the impact on Harlem. We are sharing the results of the Harlem survey with community stakeholders in the hope that this will be helpful to them in their planning.

We continue to actively monitor the community’s experiences during the pandemic and play an active role in maintaining virtual communication and outreach. COVID-19 has highlighted gaps in health care delivery, public information, and access to resources and Harlem has been identified as one of the most affected neighborhoods in New York City. The Initiative will develop programming and messaging with the aim to help Harlem residents better understand which services are available in their community and how to protect themselves and their loved ones during and after the pandemic. HHI will continue to gather data from service users including information on the quality of services and recommendations for improved responsiveness to client needs and neighborhood services priorities in this new age of COVID-19.

The Harlem Health Initiative Community Advisory Board

Frieda Foster
Barbara Askins
Curtis Archer
Oxiris Barbot
Susan J. Beane
Deneane Brown-Blackmon
Wellington Chen
Andrea G. Cohen
Maximo Gomez
Lyndon Haviland
Khary Lazarre-White
Fred Rich
Mitchell J. Silver
Pat Wang
Jennifer Walden Weprin

Community Outreach Director: Deborah Levine, LCSW, ACSW