Governor Hochul announces $3.38 million to Choose Healthy Living to address health inequities in the black community through the black church
Funding will support preventative wellness programs run by 20 churches across New York City
Northampton, MA –News Direct– Quest Diagnostics
Governor Kathy Hochul today recognized Choose Healthy Life for her work during the pandemic for offering COVID-19 testing and vaccinations through her Black churches in all five New York boroughs. During an event at Choose Healthy Life Church First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, the Governor announced that the New York State budget for fiscal year 2023 includes an allocation of $3.38 million for Choose Healthy Life to address health inequities and administer preventative wellness programs run by 20 churches. . This Governor’s announcement kicks off a Choose Healthy Living weekend of “Hope and Healing” that includes New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivering remarks at a Sunday, June 5 church service at the CHL’s Cornerstone Baptist Church in Brooklyn.
“The pandemic has revealed appalling health care disparities in Black communities, and today we are taking concrete steps to close those gaps and provide care to those who need it most,” Governor Hochul said. “This funding will be essential to help address health care inequities in underserved communities. I thank Choose Healthy Life for its efforts throughout the COVID pandemic and look forward to our continued partnership to ensure the availability and accessibility of quality care.
The state’s commitment is part of a public-private collaboration that includes financial support from CHL’s founding partner, Quest Diagnostics Foundation, to hire the church-based community health workers who have been established in New York. and engage underserved communities in preventive care and wellness. A cornerstone of the wellness program will be the launch of Blueprint for Wellness® later this summer – a comprehensive health exam that provides powerful insights to highlight personal health strengths and risks that will help communities underfunded black women to take control of their health.
State Senator Cordell Cleare said“Health care inequality for the black community is not a new development for us – action to address the health care disparities facing our community is long overdue. to join the governor in announcing this initiative with the black church to take this important step in addressing racial inequities in our health care system and its impact on health care outcomes in our community.The church has always been a current resource for leadership, spiritual guidance and information in the black community. It is fitting that this initiative be in conjunction with the church, especially during this pandemic as we work to address the many challenges we face and take another step towards healing, recovery and restoration of our community.
Co-Chair of the CHL’s National Black Clergy Health Leadership Council and President of the National Action Network, Reverend Al Sharpton, said“We commend the Governor for his support of this important initiative – a proven model that has demonstrated that lives can be saved in our community through the work of our church-based community health personnel.”
Abyssinian Baptist Church pastor and CHL co-chair Rev. Calvin O. Butts III said“New York is taking a leadership role in our nation by committing resources for our Black churches through Choose Healthy Life to address the health disparities that have plagued our community for decades.”
The Reverend Jacques DeGraff, leader of the New York Choose Healthy Life Council of Clergy, said, “Today we take an important step toward health parity in our communities. Through this network of leading black churches, New York is setting a historic national model for improving health outcomes. This pioneering effort could not have been accomplished without the reinvented vision combining faith and science.
CHL initially established a network of 50 black churches in five major cities – including New York – and grew to 120 churches in 13 states. The success of the program is centered on establishing community health workers in the black church. In its first year, the CHL hosted more than 2,200 events, administering more than 90,000 COVID-19 tests and vaccinations through its churches.
Choose Healthy Life was founded by Debra Fraser-Howze and is based on the highly successful model she created while at the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, an organization she founded to fight HIV. AIDS epidemic in black communities with widespread support from community leaders, including New York State NAACP President Hazel Dukes.
CHL Founder Debra Fraser-Howze said, “People keep asking ‘When do we get back to normal?’ and I say, ‘we’re not going back to normal, we’re dead to normal.’ We are extremely grateful for the public-private partnerships that have been established to support Choose Healthy Life, which has truly become a national movement Without the support of the Governor, New York State and our corporate partners, including Quest Diagnostics, we would not be able to address health equity in our communities.
As a founding sponsor, the Quest Diagnostics Foundation provided financial support to establish the CHL Church Community Health Workforce. Additionally, Quest Diagnostics has donated diagnostic testing and other services to CHL, including COVID-19 resources and now preventative care and wellness testing to support the underserved Black community.
Quest Diagnostics CEO-elect Jim Davis said“We have seen firsthand the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the Black community and the vast health inequities it has revealed. We are proud to strengthen our collaboration with Choose Healthy Life to help save lives. lives and improve the health of the Black community.Our goal is to expand access to health care resources to address key disparities that have plagued Black communities for far too long.
In November 2020, Choose Healthy Life created the National Black Clergy Health Leadership Council to help guide the program. Reverend Butts III and Reverend Sharpton co-chair the Council which includes Reverend DeGraff and US Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock who is leading the work in Atlanta. In addition to New York and Atlanta, the program is established in churches in Detroit (Rev. Horace Sheffield, New Destiny Christian Fellowship), Newark (Rev. David Jefferson, Metropolitan Baptist), and Washington, D.C. (Rev. Frank Tucker , First Baptist Church)
CHL has united local United Way agencies under the name United Way of New York City, which serves as the implementing partner for Choose Healthy Life. Churches and agencies work together with local health departments, hospitals and community organizations to ensure access to much needed health services.
Eric McDonnell, acting CEO of United Way of New York City, said“This funding is critical to our work to address racial inequities and disparities in health care. People of color have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the need for health resources at the community level. Together with Black churches and clergy in our city, we have established a trusted source for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations within our communities and will continue to help educate, inform and advocate for the well-being of people of color here in our community.”
Critical to Choose Healthy Life’s success has been bringing together both faith and medical science to ensure accurate and timely information and education is provided to its church-based community health workers. To that end, CHL has an established Medical Advisory Board that includes former CDC Director and NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Frieden, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and President Emeritus of Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Louis Sullivan, the first female physician in the United States House of Representatives Dr. Donna Christensen (1997-2015), former Washington DC Health Commissioner Dr. Reed Tuckson, former Chairman of the group White House Health Equity Task Force Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith and Harvard Medical School-trained obesity medicine specialist Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford.
Funding for the CHL comes from public/private collaborations that include founding partners Quest Diagnostics Foundation, Resolve to Save Lives, Siemens Foundation, Novo Nordisk, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and now New York State.
About Choosing a Healthy Life
Choose Healthy Life (CHL) is a black church initiative that ensures churches – the oldest and most trusted institutions in the black community – receive the resources, training and support needed to fight COVID- 19, other health disparities and to provide preventative wellness programs. CHL initially established a network of fifty (50) black churches in five major cities – including New York – and grew to 120 churches in 13 states. The success of the program is centered on the establishment of faith-based community health workers in the church. In its first year, CHL hosted over 2,200 events, administered over 90,000 COVID-19 tests and vaccinations through its churches.
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