Adams Has Déjà Vu As Cuomo Unveils Brooklyn Health Initiative


In a case of one hand of government not telling the other hand what it is doing, Governor Andrew Cuomo today unveiled a plan to ttransform community health and wellness for more than 1.2 million New Yorkers in central and eastern Brooklyn.

The issue of community health and wellness in these neighborhoods has long been a core issue for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and many of Cuomo’s suggestions sound like reboots of initiatives that Adams has been championing since he took office in 2014. However, neither Adams nor his office ever heard of Cuomo’s interest in the health and wellness of these neighborhoods or that it would be come part of his State of the State address.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

“I am pleased to hear that Governor Cuomo is following my lead on prioritizing the transformation of Brooklyn into a model for preventative health care. For decades, we have allowed our borough’s wellness infrastructure to stagnate and degrade, while generations of children have been raised on junk food from the corner store,” said Adams.

Cuomo’s initiative does not come with any price tag, but notes that health status indicators show that neighborhoods such as Brownsville, East New York, East Flatbush and parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant are among the worst in the state.

Cuomo said the initiative will address the underlying causes of these poor health outcomes which includes inadequate access to healthcare services and few opportunities to engage in healthy activities.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Among Cuomo’s proposals are:

· Establish Brooklyn as a primary location for the FreshConnect Mobile Markets and FreshConnect Checks program expansion to increase access to healthy foods in the area.

· Launch a hospital-based food pilot program to connect food-insecure patients with nutritional programs

· Expand the New York State Land Bank program to facilitate the identification and use of vacant or underutilized lands to establish new community gardens and pop-up parks

· Build up to 3,000 units of new affordable and supportive housing that incorporate wellness-related features such as exercise rooms, rooftop gardens, and health clinics

· Develop a community-based healthcare delivery-system which includes a major focus on ambulatory and primary care

Adams said while he is glad Brooklyn health care merited attention in Cuomo’s State of the State, he won’t be satisfied when that soundbite translates into sound and coordinated action that redirects Brooklyn’s children and families toward healthier futures.

“I would like to hear directly and concretely from Governor Cuomo on how he plans to make this vision into a reality for Brooklynites in need of a health care lifeline. This reality needs to include a greater density of community health clinics, greenmarkets, and recreation centers, focused on free and affordable access in historically underserved neighborhoods. It must focus on education and empowerment, weaning our neighbors off of emergency room overreliance, as well as focusing them on urban farming and workplace wellness. Additionally, this must factor in a more sustainable future for our hospitals, one that is both profitable and purposeful,” said Adams.