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January 26th, 2021

Andrew Yang Releases NYC Racial Equity in Healthcare Policy, Seeking an End to Disparities In Health Outcomes

**RELEASE** January 26th, 2021

Yang’s plan includes making key changes to the NYC Charter to address healthcare inequities, requiring racial equity competency for all NYC healthcare providers, declaring gun violence a public health crisis, advocating for the Safe Staffing Act in Albany, and expanding Neighborhood Action Centers to every borough.

New York, NYToday, Democratic Candidate for Mayor of New York City Andrew Yang released a policy proposal for fostering greater equity in health policy in New York City.

Andrew Yang’s proposed Racial Equity in Healthcare policies come as the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significantly disproportionate toll on communities of color throughout the five boroughs, exposing the inadequacy of the public health system and its ability to address the needs of immigrant and low-income communities, especially communities of color.

“COVID-19 may have exacerbated the vast inequalities in our healthcare system, but the roots of these issues took hold decades ago and have cost countless lives,” said Andrew Yang. “We need to reimagine the way we approach healthcare policy in New York -- where Black and Brown New Yorkers died from COVID at twice the rate of their white neighbors. We live in a City where Black mothers are twelve times more likely to die giving birth than white mothers, a City where the life expectancy in Brownsville is a full decade less than in Midtown and the infant mortality rate in East Flatbush is eleven times higher than Greenwich village. Systemic racism is the root cause of these disparities. It’s unconscionable and change has to be both bottom up and top down.”

The policy outlines key changes to the New York City Charter which would address healthcare inequities, in addition to building a diverse healthcare workforce that can address the needs of communities of color, expanding neighborhood action centers, expanding the NYC Care program, addressing the unacceptably high maternal mortality rates for Black mothers by expanding doula care, and treating gun violence as a public health crisis.

Continued Andrew Yang, “As Mayor, I’m going to re-establish the mandate of DOHMH to ensure that ending racial health disparities is the agency’s top priority. We’re going to build the most diverse and culturally competent public healthcare system in the world, and we’re going to put those resources where they are needed most.”

Racial Equity in Healthcare for NYC:

  • Make Ending Racial Health Disparities the Mandate of DOHMH. Amending the New York City Charter will ensure that ending racial health disparities is a primary mandate of New York City’s Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. 
  • Build a Diverse, Culturally Competent Public Health Workforce. Working with the City University of New York (CUNY) and Health and Hospitals (H+H), a Yang administration will expand fast-track pipelines into healthcare careers for NYC high school graduates, particularly those of color, who are eager to serve diverse communities, allowing for providers who identify with the community to provide better health outcomes. Additionally, to guarantee healthcare workers are not overburdened, particularly those who serve communities of color, Andrew Yang is pledging to stand by groups like the New York State Nurses Association in support of the Safe Staffing Act. 
  • Require Racial Equity Competency for All Healthcare Providers in NYC. Building on the tremendous work of the Center for Health Equity under former DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, as Mayor, Yang will require racial equity competency as part of teaching and learning at all H+H hospitals, available to providers citywide in partnership with DOHMH, and a requirement for nonprofit organizations seeking City funding to deliver healthcare services.
  • Expanding Doula Care. Doulas are critical in ensuring that all birthing parents, and especially Black birthing parents, can advocate for their needs during the birth process. The City has made important strides in centering this issue, but this work is far from complete. A Yang administration will expand New York State’s doula pilot program by providing direct support to all parents who seek doula care with one-time grants to pay for this critical healthcare service, and with DOHMH, create a pipeline for more people of color to become birth workers and doulas. At the same time, we will continue to advocate for all private insurance and Medicaid to cover doula care for all patients.
  • Expand Neighborhood Action Centers. Over the last several years, DOHMH has taken a place-based approach to centering racial equity in healthcare delivery. Central to this shift has been the creation of Neighborhood Action Centers in Brownsville, East Harlem, and Tremont, bringing together health care providers, City agencies, and community-based organizations and programs under one roof. In light of the pandemic, we must expand Neighborhood Action Centers to those communities across New York City that bore the brunt of the pandemic, including one in every borough.
  • Expand NYC Care. As Mayor, Andrew Yang will expand NYC Care -- expanding access to primary and preventative healthcare allowing for uninsured New Yorkers to visit one of H+H’s hospitals or clinics and see a primary care physician; and will engage in an aggressive outreach campaign with advocacy organizations to connect people without healthcare insurance to this program.
  • Call Gun Violence What it is: A Public Health Crisis. Research demonstrates that gun violence is best understood and treated as a public health challenge. A Yang administration will scale up the “Cure Violence Program,” which recruits and supports trusted, credible community messengers to interrupt violence before it begins, and mediate conflict when it arises -- as well as invest in coordinated responses by community based organizations, mental health providers and hospitals to violence and support restorative justice practitioners, following the innovative strategies of organizations like Common Justice.

Read the full policy here.


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