A press conference to kick off this project is scheduled for Friday, October 2, 2009, at 11 a.m. in City Hall. (New Haven, CT) September 24, 2009.  Residents of six New Haven neighborhoods will be surveyed this fall about their current health and health habits as part of a long-term project that seeks to reverse growing rates of chronic disease in the city. Approximately 1,400 adults in the city’s Dixwell, West River/Dwight, Fair Haven, Hill North, Newhallville and West Rock neighborhoods will be interviewed about their health and the health of their community, including access to health care, diet, exercise, and tobacco use as well as the neighborhood environment. This information will be combined with data from already completed health maps of the same six neighborhoods and used to develop policy proposals and health programs to curb obesity, smoking, diabetes and other factors that contribute to the onset of chronic disease. New Haven, like other urban centers, disproportionately bears the burden of chronic disease. Such diseases account for 70 percent of all illness and death in the United States and 75 percent of health care costs—yet they are totally preventable. The health survey begins October 5 and will continue until November 24. Interviews will take about 30 minutes and each participant will receive a $10 gift card to a local grocery and be eligible for a $500 cash prize. New Haven residents have been trained and hired to administer the surveys. The project is spearheaded locally by CARE: Community Alliance for Research and Engagement at Yale University to assess the health status and primary risk factors of chronic disease. Recent evidence suggests that comprehensive health interventions are an important approach to improving community health and can result in successful outcomes. The surveys will help to lay a crucial foundation for improving health, neighborhood by neighborhood, said Jeannette Ickovics, a Yale professor of public health and CARE’s director. “We are committed to working with individuals and institutions in New Haven to improve health. Every voice is crucial to this effort. If one of our team of interviewers – clad in a bright orange jacket with ‘We CARE’ on the back – knocks on your door, we hope that you will answer the door and answer these important questions. With all the public discourse on national health reform – there is a need for local models that work. I believe that New Haven can be a model for the nation,” said Ickovics. The New Haven project is part of a larger initiative known as Community Interventions for Health (CIH). CIH seeks to further scientific knowledge about the effectiveness of community interventions to reduce chronic diseases by identifying neighborhood assets, interviewing residents and developing and implementing policies to improve health in neighborhoods, schools, work sites and health care centers. In addition to New Haven (the first U.S. city to participate in the program), cities in Mexico, India, China and the United Kingdom are taking part in the initiative sponsored by the Oxford Health Alliance.  The Coordinating Team is led by New-Haven based Matrix Public Health Solutions. CARE is a community-university partnership that works to improve health in New Haven through the use of evidence-based programs and policies. It brings together representatives from city government, schools, the New Haven Health Department, health care providers, community organizations, local businesses and philanthropic agencies, along with Yale faculty, administrators and students. CONTACT: Alycia Santilli, Assistant Director, CARE at Yale University, 203-785-7651, alycia.santilli AT yale.edu Author: Mark Abraham, Executive Director, DataHaven, 9/30/09

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