$30 million, 40,000-Square-Foot Facility to Tackle Long-Standing Health
Disparities and Serve as National Model for Primary and Behavioral Health Care
NEW YORK, N.Y. (October 29, 2018) Today, the Institute for Community Living(ICL) and Community Healthcare Network(CHN), along with Council Member Rafael Espinal and other dignitaries, celebrated the opening of the East New York Health Hub. This brand new, 40,000-square-foot, $30 million health and community center on the border of East New York and Brownsville will take a holistic approach to tackling long-standing health disparities in communities that historically have had extremely poor health outcomes. The Hub’s approach that addresses physical and mental health and social determinants of health like housing, jobs and healthy food access makes this facility one of the first of its kind in the nation and a model for integrated primary and behavioral health care.
The Hub, located on Atlantic Avenue, will offer programs and services to address both the socioeconomic and clinical determinants of health. Individuals and families will have access to a full array of services, including primary care, mental health care, care coordination, housing services, nutritional support, job placement, youth and parent advocacy (including school support) and recovery.
The surrounding area is home to large African American, Caribbean, and Latin American communities, and the Health Hub will allow ICL to significantly and more effectively increase services to those communities. ICL will employ more than 240 full time staff at the location.
Residents of East New York, Brownsville and Cypress HIiis have among the poorest health outcomes in New York City and the least access to care. According to a report commissioned by ICL and conducted by USC New York and Hester Street Collaborative:
- Brownsville has the second highest rate of psychiatric hospitalizations in the city, East New York has the 10th highest. About 10% of residents in both communities have a history of depression.
- Brownsville has the 4th, and East New York has the 5th highest infant mortality rate in New York City.
- Brownsville has the highest rate of premature mortality (death before age 65) in New York City (367 per 100,000), while East New York has the 9th highest (279 per 100,000)
- 18% of adults in East New York have diabetes: CDS ranks 10th highest for avoidable diabetes hospitalizations, with 539 hospitalizations per 100,000 adults (12, 13).
- Over half of adults (58%} are overweight and obese, and 22% of adults have high cholesterol.
“We have known for some time now that physical and mental health are inextricably linked, yet efforts to provide an integrated approach to care in this country continue to be limited to simple co-location of services. The Hub takes a unique, whole-person approach, looking at how early life events and the social determinants of health-like economic instability, housing issues, crime, and institutional racism-affect health. It is only when we consider all of these factors that we can begin to work with communities to help get people better,” said David Woodlock, President and CEO, ICL.
“Like ICL, at our core, Community Healthcare Network seeks to serve people in underserved communities where quality healthcare is not easily accessible,” says Robert M. Hayes, CHN’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “In joining forces at the Health Hub, we are reiterating our belief that quality healthcare cannot be delivered in silos of primary healthcare and mental healthcare. They must be combined to produce the best health outcomes for the people we serve.”
ICL partnered with USC and Hester Street Collaborative early on to engage with community leaders, community-based organizations, elected officials, local service providers, and faith-based groups to learn about their needs and vision for a healthier neighborhood. This working group discussed existing programs and services, community challenges, cultural barriers to health, and service gaps. The organizations also held workshops to include the voices of residents.
They identified their most pressing concerns: housing, crime, and violence; as well as health and wellbeing priorities: accessible, culturally appropriate health services, domestic violence prevention, neighborhood safety, and healthy homes. As a result, ICL is partnering with local groups to bring in additional resources: Cypress Hills LDC (for GED and ESL), East New York Workforce 1 (for employment), Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (for vocational training), Brownsville Community Culinary Center (for access to healthy food), and Brooklyn Defender Services (for housing advocacy, repairs, and evictions).
“This is a neighborhood that has seen severe disinvestment for decades by city and state government and because of that the people who live here have suffered. We have high unemployment and crumbling infrastructure. We suffered through the drug epidemic of the 1980s and the foreclosure crisis a decade ago. lf we don’t address mental health issues in East New York we will continue to see this cycle of poverty. While we have seen more investment in recent years, we were missing something like this; and I’m confident that because of the work of ICL, people in this community will finally get the health care they need and deserve,” said Rafael Espinal, New York City Council Member.
“The seriously mentally ill die 20 to 25 years earlier than the rest of us. Why? Because they don’t get the health care that ICL’s Hub can provide. This is the future. We need to use this as a model so that people realize that integrated care is where the rubber meets the road. This is where the silos break down and everything comes together,” Dr. Ann Marie Sullivan, Commissioner, New York State Office of Mental Health.
The Hub represents a “new way of doing business” and government has been great partners knowing what was needed and putting their resources behind it. Representing Governor Cuomo and a great proponent of this project, Paul Francis, Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services, described the Hub as “perfectly epitomizing the Governor’s commitment to integrated behavioral and physical health healthcare. The Hub will set the standard for others to follow in Brooklyn and around the City.
“There is no better evidence of the unquenched thirst in our communities for health care solutions that work for them, and with them, than the crowd we have here today. I believe that this solution will help quench that thirst. There has been no better visionary and partner to work with than ICL and CHN. Structural racism, economic marginalization, community trauma, violence -these are things that we have to build mental health services around – services that are intimately connected with and responsive to the people they serve. I congratulate ICL and CHN for approaching mental health this way. It’s great to see so many of the models the city is working on with THRIVE NYC integrated into this facility,” said Dr. Gary Belkin, Executive Deputy Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
“Community residents will have greater access to much-needed services because of the opening of the East New York Health Hub. The Hub just makes sense -for one person to get care in one place. And the partnerships and collaborations being created will build toward a fully integrated health system, ” said LaRay Brown, President and CEO, Interfaith Medical Center and One Brooklyn Health System.
“From the beginning, ICL has been interested in the perspective of faith-based communities and local religious leaders on the needs of communities in East New York, Brownsville, and Cypress Hills. ICL has listened as we’ve discussed sensitive topics such as mental health, domestic violence, and poverty in our community and we have discussed solutions together. Their objectives are our objectives: to restore lives, strengthen families, and build community. We will do this together,” said Pastor Gilford Monrose, Director, Faith-Based & Clergy Initiatives, Office of the Brooklyn Borough President
The Hub is part renovation and part new addition, designed by Dattner Architects and built by Mega Contracting Group. Funding from multiple sources totaling $30 million came in the form of New Markets Tax Credits from Primary Care Development Corporation and Corporation for Supportive Housing and a Deutsche Bank Community Development Finance Group loan as well as generous funding by the New York City Council.
ICL provides trauma-informed, recovery-oriented, integrated, and person-centered care through supportive and transitional housing, counseling, and rehabilitation services for adults, children, and families with mental health
‘challenges and those living with developmental disabilities. We serve 10,000 people each year; every night 2,500 New Yorkers call ICL home. Our goal is to help people achieve better health and the most fulfilling life possible.
Community Healthcare Network (CHN) is a not-for-profit organization providing access to affordable, culturallycompetent and comprehensive community-based primary care, dental, nutrition, mental health and social services for diverse populations in 12 underserved communities throughout New York City. CHN serves more than 85,000 individuals a year who would otherwise have little or no access to critical health care.