Bronx Health REACH Presents at 2012 Science of Eliminating Health Disparities Summit

December 28, 2012

On December 18th, Charmaine Ruddock, Carlos Devia and Diana Johnson presented at the 2012 Science of Eliminating Health Disparities Summit in Maryland on the role of insurance in access to specialty care at New York State teaching hospitals, changing the food environment in childcare settings, and community-academic collaborations on obesity prevention programs in elementary schools.  The Summit, hosted by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under the leadership of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health from December 17-19, focused on the intersection between science, practice and policy in eliminating health disparities.  Three-thousand people attended the exciting three day conference, including professionals and leaders from government agencies, community organizations, academia and medical institutions.

Charmaine Ruddock, Project Director of Bronx Health REACH, presented the findings from a statewide study to assess the extent to which hospitals run different systems of care based on insurance status. Findings from this study showed that privately insured patients were the most likely to receive appointments at the hospital or nearby private practice, compared to patients on Medicaid or the uninsured. Also, privately insured patients were more likely to be redirected to private practices, while the uninsured were far more likely to be sent to clinics. Medicaid patients were the most affected when appointments were refused. Medicaid and uninsured patients were also given later appointments than privately insured patients, who were more likely to get appointments within 1 week. Finally, Medicaid and uninsured patients have more difficulty receiving cardiology appointments at NYS teaching hospitals than privately insured patients.

Carlos Devia, Program Manager for Research and Evaluation at Bronx Health REACH, presented the findings from the New York Academy of Medicine’s evaluation of the nutritional programming at MARC Academy in the Bronx from 2009 to 2012. MARC provides preschool and after school programming to children ages 2-12.  Through funding from the CDC REACH grant, Bronx Health REACH provided funding and technical assistance to MARC Academy to develop and implement a comprehensive nutrition action plan that supported healthy eating through policies, procedures, and education.  Results from the evaluation showed that MARC Academy made a dramatic shift in their food environment, including healthier food preparation and menu options, implementation of policies modeling healthy eating behaviors, negotiations with food vendors to improve the quality of meals, and nutrition education for children and parents.

Diana Johnson, Program Coordinator for the Obesity Prevention Program at Bronx Health REACH, presented preliminary results from Bronx Health REACH’s work in elementary schools in the South Bronx and our partnership with Johns Hopkins University. This classroom-based program focuses on increasing students’ knowledge of healthy eating, increasing self-efficacy related to food choices, and improving healthy eating behaviors. Using a train-the-trainer model, teachers are taught nutrition education along with the program curriculum, followed by classroom program implementation. Preliminary results indicate improved nutrition knowledge and increased self-efficacy related to making healthy food choices.

For more information about the 2012 Science of Eliminating Health Disparities Summit, please click here.