Community Academic Partnerships

Welcome to the 168th Street Greenmarket











What are Community Academic Partnerships?

Our culture is the lens through which we see the world. Cultural beliefs can affect a patients ability to adhere to medications, understand directives, and color their view of illness in general. Because of this many accreditation bodies both in undergraduate and graduate medical education are requiring training in cultural competency as well as learning how to appropriately use community resources for our patients (22, 33).

One way to learn more about the community and engage as many resources it has to offer is to create community academic partnerships. Community academic partnerships are mutually beneficial partnerships made between academic institutions, such as academic medical centers, and at least one community organization. Through local community partners we can learn how to deliver culturally sensitive care because these local citizens are intimately familiar with all of the resources the community has to offer. The institution of these type of partnerships can lead to a paradigm shift where health care professionals start to seen the community not as a group of people who receive care and as merely a training placement, but as a "teaching resource and partner" (21, 22, 33)

Here at CUMC there are several active community academic partnerships that have led to a significant improvement in our communities health and reciprocal community oriented teaching for students, residents and faculty. Here we look at just a small sample of these innovative and effective partnerships.

Choosing Healthy and Active Lifestyles for Kids (CHALK)

CHALK is a collaboration between Columbia University Medical Center, the pediatrics department and our community that started in 2008. The main goals of this collaboration is to reduce childhood obesity in WaHI and promote cultural competence.

As we saw at the Mailman School of Public Health, obesity is an issue in our community. This epidemic spreads far beyond our adult population and has started to affect children in increasing numbers. 11% of children and adolescents in New York are obese. Minority race children, specifically Hispanic boys and Black girls are disproportionately affected. The most affective way to combat this growing trend is to change the environment NYC children live in. This is done by advertising healthy food options and accessibility as well as creating safe and appealing environments for children to play and be physically active in a safe way.

CHALK initiatives do exactly that. They take on many different forms, from after school activities at local public schools to helping to train health care providers how to identify best practices and promote healthy living in a culturally competent and family
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centered way. One of the most exciting CHALK initiatives that benefits the community at large (including the medical student community!) is the establishment of the 168th street Greenmarket.

Opening in June of 2010, this greenmarket is a relatively new addition to our community. This farmers market is open from June through November and open from 8am to 5pm everyday. What sets this greenmarket apart from the greater than 50 other such markets throughout the city is that New York Presbyterian and CUMC are weaving health services into the market itself. These services are all housed at a "Vive tu Vida/Live your Life" tent that offers cooking tips and healthy eating advice to shoppers and their families. In an effort to promote accessibility of the market to all residents, food can be bought with debit cards, and food stamps (8).

CHALK was one of the driving forces for this incredible addition to our neighborhood and is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their initiatives throughout northern Manhattan. To learn more about CHALK and ways to get involved visit them here.

Washington Heights and Inwood Network (WIN) for Asthma

In 2005, the rate of pediatric asthma in our community had reached 4 times the national average (27). Community, hospital, and academic leaders came together to try and correct this startling statistic. The institutional and clinical expertise was given by the hospital and academic leaders while community health workers were employed by community based organizations. Community health workers are people from the same community as our patients who speak the same language and faces the same obstacles to care as our patient population. This put them in the unique position of being able to give practical health information in a non threatening and effective way. Community Health workers were trained and supported by all partners involved: community organizations, academic leaders, and hospital administrators. From there they were used to do home visits, educate caregivers, and set goals for their child's asthma (31).

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Annual Graduation Ceremony of WIN for Asthma Program


The program had 472 families enroll from its opening to November of 2010. They were interviewed at 6 and 12 months. Data from the evaluations showed that these families had a 50% decrease in emergency room visits as well as Caregiver self efficacy (how comfortable caregivers felt handling their child's asthma) of 97% (up from 61% at entry). This is an incredible testament to the not only the efficacy of partnering with our community but of the resourcefulness of our community in general. This program was originally funded by a grant from Merck. After the grant was exhausted New York Presbyterian Hospital was so impressed with its efficacy that it started funding the program and expanded it to include other chronic diseases such as diabetes, adult asthma, and congestive heart failure (31).

School Based Health Clinics (SBHCs)

The final example on this page of community academic partnership is the creation of school based health clinics in local northern Manhattan. These clinics are located in middle schools and high schools in the area (list of contacts can be found here). Adolescents are a very different type of patient population. They are overall a healthy demographic but come with a host of challenges. Prevention is key in adolescent medicine. The top causes of death in this age group, homicide, suicide, and accidents, are a testament to this fact (22). In 1986, NYP and the department of adolescent and child health at Columbia University partnered with local school district leaders to incorporate physical health clinics into several schools in the area. This partnership led to a decrease in emergency room visits from the high school and middle school as well as a decrease in the amount of time missed from school when visiting health care providers. It also helped to give these students easy access to healthcare and preventative services such as family planning and HIV screening in addition to addressing their immediate health concerns (20, 29).

All of these organizations are a testament to the power of community academic partnerships. Through this type of program, the efficacy of interventions are compounded to help elevate our patient populations health overall. For a list of other community based organizations visit here
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