Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

public health

public health

  • City Council Examines Bills to Address Maternal Health, Racial Disparities in Reproductive Care

    City Council hearing on maternal health (photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council)


    At a hearing this past week, New York City Council Members discussed a package of legislation related to maternal health, mortality, and morbidity and seeking to address healthcare inequities as well as the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade constitutional abortion protections. The joint hearing held by the Council’s Committee on Health and Committee on Hospitals dealt with...

  • FDA Not Aggressive Enough as Multiple New York Baby Food Companies Tainted with Heavy Metals

    Baby food (photo: @kgregory)


    On February 4, 2021,a congressional report exposed four major baby food companies for allowing tremendous concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in their products. Naturally, shortly after finding out about the sheer carelessness of the manufacturers, parents nationwide became

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Dick Gottfried on 52 Years in the State Assembly

    Assemblymember Dick Gottfried (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    June xx, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Dick Gottfried on 52 Years in the State Legislature

    Assemblymember Dick Gottfried is retiring after 52 years in the Legislature. He joined the show to reflect on his tenure, including 35 years chairing the Assembly health committee, how state government has changed over time, his major accomplishments, the New York Health Act, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter ...

  • Public Health, Public Safety, and the New York City Budget

    Mayor Adams at an announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Typically, the scorching hot summer months bring a rise in violence, but there’s much more than temperature at play. Last fall, a Violence Interrupter in Brooklyn shared with us his greatest concerns as we moved to the colder months. He noted that the sunset of extended unemployment benefits would cause more families to be under stress, leading more kids to leave their turbulent home environment in search of solace and kinship in the streets. 

    How New York Must Build Back a Better Primary Care System

     

    Mayor Adams gets health care (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    If you spotted a nickel on the ground, would you stop to pick it up? Probably not—it seems too small, too insignificant. Why bother?

    But that small amount is how we value primary care within the context of our whole health care system. It is estimated that only5–7

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  • In Response to Covid, Manhattan Borough President Seeks to Mandate Improved Indoor Air Quality Standards

    Manhattan BP Mark Levine (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)


    Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine is planning to introduce legislation to mandate improved indoor air quality standards to preempt future disease outbreaks and limit successive waves of COVID-19. 

    Levine, who previously served on the City Council and made a name for himself during the pandemic as chair of the Council’s health committee, is working with Council Member Keith Powers, a fellow Manhattan Democrat, and has requested the Council’s legislative

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  • Winning the Public Health Recovery from Covid

    Mayor Adams visits health care workers (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In its battle against COVID-19, New York City, even under a notably disorganized mayor, arrived at an impressive level of health organization. As may be recalled, Mayor de Blasio switched the lead role in the covid fight to Health + Hospitals, the city’s public hospital system, from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), which retained major responsibilities but not its usual lead position in epidemics. It is to the credit of both agencies that, under this forced and

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Senator Gustavo Rivera on Crunch-Time State Budget Negotiations

    State Senator Gustavo Rivera (photo: NYS Senate Media Services)


    March 30, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Senator Gustavo Rivera on State Budget Negotiations

    State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat and chair of the Senate health committee, joined the show to discuss final state budget negotiations, touching on a variety of key issues, as well as the overarching process, Mayor Adams' Albany agenda, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter @TweetBenMax. You can listen to the

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  • Will New York Form a Covid Response Review Commission?

    Gov. Cuomo holding a covid briefing (photo: Governor's Office)


    In 2018, a sight-seeing helicopter crashed into the East River near Manhattan's Upper East Side, killing five passengers. A year later it happened again on the roof of a skyscraper in midtown. The pilot died. After the second crash, Senator Chuck Schumer called for the FAA to require helicopters be equipped with "black boxes," like airplanes, so officials could examine what goes on in the cockpit before a wreck and avoid future tragedies.

    Two years after the first recorded COVID-19 deaths in New York, facing the threat of a new strain

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  • Saving Lives from New York City to Rochester and Beyond

    Overdose rescue kit (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    The city of Rochester is not immune to our country’s overdose crisis. In 2020, the most recent year we have data from, we lost over 230 people to preventable overdoses in our city, and preliminary data points to that only increasing in 2021. Each person we are losing sends a shockwave through our communities and families, and we cannot give in to the idea that this epidemic is normal or unpreventable.

    The reality is, every overdose death is preventable.

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  • Turn to Communities to Turn Around New York’s Unprecedented Health Disaster

    Mayor Adams promotes good health (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    New York City and State face unprecedented mass illness--from chronic disease that has been allowed to fester for decades, ongoing endemic COVID-19, and uncountable already existing cases of Long Covid--plus rising overdose rates and emergency illness from drug use, and more. With all this, mass trauma has overtaken whole communities. There will never be sufficient professional personnel, from clinicians to police officers, to contend with this unprecedented

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  • ‘We Simply Cannot Predict What This Virus Will Do Next’: Dr. Jay Varma’s Reflections and Warnings on New York City’s Covid War

    Covid vaccination (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As New York City was in the throes of the initial devastating wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio recruited Dr. Jay Varma to help guide his public health policy.

    Varma, a well-respected international expert on infectious disease control and prevention, became de Blasio’s senior advisor for public health in April 2020, relocating back to New York City from work he was doing abroad and helping to craft public health policy for the city through the end of 2021 and de Blasio’s tenure as

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  • What is New York City Doing to Boost Covid Vaccination Where Rates Remain Persistently Low?

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Getting vaccinated (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Uptake of COVID-19 vaccines remains persistently low in pockets of New York City two years into the pandemic, despite being shown to reduce the severity and spread of the virus that has killed nearly 40,000 New Yorkers.

    A city health department study in August found a vast majority of covid-related hospitalizations

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  • 'Clear Proof Lives Have Been Saved': Will New York Expand on First Overdose Prevention Centers?

    An Overdose Prevention Center (photo: @nycHealthy)


    In December, New York City became the first municipality in the country to establish Overdose Prevention Centers to allow people with substance use disorders to safely use drugs under medical supervision while receiving services such as medical care, mental health treatment, and more. After years of consideration and discussions with other levels of government, the de Blasio administration gave a longtime nonprofit service-provider the go-ahead to offer safe injection sites.

    Within the first three months, the two sites in East Harlem and Washington

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Dr. Dave Chokshi on Recent Covid Policy Decisions and His Tenure as NYC Health Commissioner

    NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    March 9, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Dr. Dave Chokshi on His Tenure as NYC Health Commissioner

    Outgoing New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi joined the show to discuss the city's latest covid policies, what's next in the city's fight against COVID-19, and to reflect on his nearly two-year tenure as city health commissioner. Dr. Chokshi, who stayed on in the role for the first few months of the Adams administration and is now departing city government as planned in mid-March, explained

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Dr. Jay Varma on New York City's Battle with COVID-19

    Dr. Jay Varma (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    March 8, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Dr. Jay Varma on the Next Phase of NYC Covid Protections

    Dr. Jay Varma, former senior advisor for public health to Mayor Bill de Blasio and international expert on disease control and prevention, joined the show to discuss his views on what covid protections and restrictions New York City should have in place and what's next in managing the pandemic, as well as reflections on the city's long battle with COVID-19.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what

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  • I Had A No-Cost Childbirth, Other New York Moms Should Be Able To Do The Same

    A new mom (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    When I had my first child, I couldn’t believe how expensive it was to give birth. Thankfully, I had no complications, but the bills related to my brief hospital stay added up and compounded the financial strain of caring for my new baby.

    Eighteen years later, I was pregnant with my third child and worried that the costs would again be too high for me to afford. But this time, I was able to participate in the SEIU 32BJ Health Fund’s Maternity Care Program in partnership

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  • New Yorkers Deserve a Breath of Fresh Air

    Kids at rest (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    While New Yorkers have been battling the COVID-19 pandemic, another public health epidemic is on the horizon that similarly affects their capacity to breathe freely: asthma. In 2019,over 1.4 million New Yorkers were living with asthma, and this number has likely grown since then. Over...

  • Why We Welcome Vegan Fridays in New York City Schools

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Mayor Adams at a vegan cooking demo (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Adams administration recently announced that plant-based meals, free of animal products except for federally-required fluid milk, would be served across the New York City public school system on Fridays. Mayor Adams had been crystal clear throughout his campaign about the connection between food and health: “We must stop feeding the crisis.”

    Because city schools serve nearly 1 million meals each day, rolling out the program

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  • Max Politics Podcast: The New City Council Chairs for Public Health and Hospitals

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    (l-r) City Council Members Linda Lee, Mercedes Narcisse, & Lynn Schulman


    February 1, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: The New City Council Chairs for Public Health and Hospitals

    Newly-elected New York City Council Members Linda Lee, Mercedes Narcisse, and Lynn Schulman are, respectively, the new chairs of the Council's Committees on Mental Health; Hospitals; and Health. The three lawmakers joined the show to discuss their backgrounds, vision, and plans for chairing these interdependent and overlapping committees that are charged

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  • A Key Lesson of the Harlem Police Shooting

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    A vigil for police officers Rivera and Mora (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Adams' Blueprint to End Gun Violence, just released with much fanfare, represents, regrettably, an old-wine-in-a-new-bottle agenda overly-reliant on punitive law enforcement tactics. The mayor seeks to roll back bail reform and criminalize more young people, and will return to our streets the notorious plainclothes NYPD units responsible for the deaths of Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and others. These measures would do nothing to prevent the shocking kind of tragic incident that

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  • How Our Parks Can Save Our City

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    Cunningham Park, Queens (photo: @NYCParks)


    New York City’s parks literally saved lives during the pandemic. In my community of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, our open spaces allowed us to escape the physical, mental, and social constraints of quarantine into fresh air. Today, our parks, pools, playgrounds, and plazas are places of reconnecting and healing for a community pushing forward from its days as the epicenter of a global crisis.

    Across our city, parks and public spaces will be essential to meeting the multiple challenges we face, from health care

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  • To Meet Children’s Mental Health Crisis, Support Our Social Workers

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Helping children through a pandemic (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Surgeon General’s rare public advisory made official what we as social workers have known for 22 months – that the pandemic has accelerated a mental health crisis for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and

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  • To Fight Overdose Deaths and Substance Use Disorder, Safe Injection Sites are Exactly What New York City Needs

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    Fighting addiction and overdose in NYC (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    In recent weeks, news broke that according to provisional figures from the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 100,000 Americans died of overdoses within a 12-month period ending in April 2021. For the first time in history, overdose deaths in the United States have exceeded 100,000 in a year, a value greater than the toll

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  • How Governor Hochul Can Help Improve Birthing Experiences and Maternal Safety

    birthing options

    A push for better birthing options (photo via NYSALM)


    This op-ed is adapted from a public letter being sent to Governor Kathy Hochul by birth practitioners, advocates, educators, and leaders and reflects a petition already signed by more than 1,000 New Yorkers in support of the Midwifery Birth Center Bill.

    Midwifery birth centers provide high-value, evidence-based, patient-centered care that has been proven to result in positive health outcomes, cost savings, and health equity—and could be essential to advancing birth equity in New

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