New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan today unveiled “HealthyNYC,” an ambitious plan to improve and extend the average lifespan of all New Yorkers.
The campaign sets ambitious targets to address the greatest drivers of premature death, including chronic and diet-related diseases, screenable cancers, overdose, suicide, maternal mortality, violence, and COVID-19. Overall, the campaign aims to extend the average life expectancy of New Yorkers to 83 years by 2030, with gains across racial and ethnic groups.
“It’s time we give New York City extra life with the launch of ‘HealthyNYC,’ our campaign to help New Yorkers lead healthier, longer lives,” said Mayor Adams. “Our administration is setting out to increase New Yorkers’ life expectancy to over 83 years by 2030 — not only recovering years lost during the pandemic but also surpassing our previous high by tackling chronic disease, violence, maternal mortality, overdose, and more. By refocusing all of our public health work around the goal of helping people live longer lives, we’ll build a healthier, more prosperous city where everyone can thrive.”
“‘HealthyNYC’ is the city’s singular organizing effort to help extend life expectancy for New Yorkers,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “We will tackle the underlying causes of lost years and lost lives, including combating the opioid crisis, reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, bringing diet-related chronic diseases into remission, and helping every New Yorker live their healthiest life. We do all this because our health is what allows us to live more and love more for ourselves and our families.”
“‘HealthyNYC’ is a game changer because in the wake of COVID-19, and while facing parallel and growing health crises, we know that, as a city and a nation, people are getting sicker and dying sooner than they should,” said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Vasan. “Losing years of life and of good health is a unifying challenge, and getting them back is a top priority for New York City, as well as a north star for the future of public health. This announcement sets the coordinates for our collective mission to lead longer, healthier lives, and there is perhaps no more important measure of the health of our society and our democracy. The road we travel here in New York City will provide guideposts for our nation and its people, who should expect to live long and live well, for themselves and for generations to follow.”
“‘HealthyNYC’ marks a significant step forward in our commitment to the well-being of all New Yorkers,” said New York City Councilmember Lynn Schulman, chair, Health Committee. “It is such a critical initiative that I am proud to be introducing accompanying legislation to require a five year public health agenda for New York City, to improve health outcomes and address health disparities. I am proud to partner with Mayor Adams on such a comprehensive and ambitious plan to make New York City the healthiest city in the country.”
“Our city has always ensured that New Yorkers have the information and tools they need to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, president and CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals. “‘HealthyNYC’ is a national model that once again demonstrates how the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is on the forefront of public health.”
“Increasing life expectancy across our city requires all hands on deck, and ‘HealthyNYC’ is doing just that – galvanizing government, partners, and everyday New Yorkers to achieve this ambitious goal,” said New York City Chief Equity Officer and Mayor’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice Commissioner Sideya Sherman. “By addressing the core drivers of premature mortality – from chronic diseases to maternal health – and extreme inequities across racial and ethnic groups, we’re helping to build a future where all New Yorkers can live healthy and fulfilling lives.”
“Each year, DSS connects millions of vulnerable New Yorkers to the critical benefits, services, and supports they need to remain safe, healthy, and housed. However, we know that our low-income neighbors are still disproportionately impacted by the drivers of premature death like chronic disease, overdose, suicide, maternal mortality, and COVID-19,” said New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Molly Wasow Park. “The stark decrease in New Yorkers’ lifespan following the pandemic is deeply concerning, and we are pleased that the Adams’ administration is implementing a comprehensive plan to not only reverse this trend but significantly increase life expectancy for all New Yorkers. We look forward to working closely with our partner agencies to help New Yorkers lead longer and healthier lives.”
“Climate change is a public health crisis that especially burdens those with underlying health conditions, many of whom live in environmental justice communities and contribute the least to climate change,” said Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Executive Director Elijah Hutchinson. “Climate policy should advance better health, and public health policy should mitigate the health impacts of climate change.”
“A ‘HealthyNYC’ is a ‘Food Forward NYC.’ As we work across agencies, to ensure all New Yorkers have equitable access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food, we must be equally relentless in our targeting of other major drivers of illness and inequities,” said Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Executive Director Kate MacKenzie. “We applaud this administration’s and DOHMH Commissioner Vasan’s unprecedented commitment to increasing life expectancy through this comprehensive goal-setting framework underscored by an ambitious nutrition mandate. These cross-cutting initiatives and coordinated preventive actions represent a deeper investment in the overall health of every New Yorker than ever before.”
“Making sure older New Yorkers can access the programs and services the city offers is an important step to improving people’s well-being, and I am pleased we are taking these positive steps to create a healthier and more equitable city” said New York City Department for the Aging (NYC Aging) Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “As such, NYC Aging developed the ‘Join Us’ campaign, encouraging older residents to come out and see what their local older adult center has to keep them healthy. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how important it is to ensure residents take care of their bodies and minds all year-round, no matter how old we are. As we help residents live longer, I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Eric Adams and Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan to build the age-inclusive city we all want to live in.”
“NYCHA is committed to improving the quality of life for residents, and we are proud to lend our support to ‘HealthyNYC’,” said New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “As the driving spirit of this amazing city, it is imperative that all New Yorkers — including NYCHA residents — do everything in their power to address and counteract factors contributing to the premature loss of life.”
“Thank you to Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom, and Commissioner Vasan for launching ‘HealthyNYC’ and tackling head-on the greatest drivers of premature death, including maternal mortality, suicide, and overdose,” said New York City Administration of Child Services Commissioner Jess Dannhauser. “‘HealthyNYC’ will not only extend the lives of New Yorkers but means that more families will be whole, able to embrace their loved ones, and celebrate life’s milestones together.”
“This ambitious new agenda demonstrates our city’s commitment to keeping New Yorkers healthy and happy — and, as we all saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, our public green spaces have a vital role to play,” said New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “From young kids looking for a place to shoot hoops, to older New Yorkers enjoying the fresh air while they swap stories, our parks and recreation centers provide safe ways for all New Yorkers to connect with each other and with the great outdoors. We look forward to working with the Department of Health and our partners across the city government to continue maintaining beautiful and accessible public playgrounds, parks, greenways, gardens, and more.”
“City government should educate, inspire, and empower New Yorkers to become active participants in increasing their own health and lifespans. Knowing that not all of us are starting from the same place, we need to even the playing field and help New Yorkers take control of their own personal health and wellness,” said New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Oddo. “Concerted efforts to improve one’s health can greatly improve people’s lives. We have seen this in so many individual cases, and now it’s time to do the work to make it possible across communities throughout our city. I heartily applaud Mayor Adams and our colleagues at the Department of Health for aiming high and coming to the table with a detailed plan on how to hit that target.”
“‘HealthyNYC’ means a better quality of life and a stronger economy for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “I applaud Mayor Adams and the New York City Department of Health on this important initiative.”
“‘HealthyNYC’ isn’t just about raising life expectancy, but about raising the quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “As we learned during the pandemic, economic health is inextricably linked with public health. By improving access to quality care, preventive health services, and good nutrition, we are building a stronger workforce and more robust business landscape.”
The “HealthyNYC” plan aims to address the life years lost during the COVID-19 pandemic to the virus and other causes and surpass life expectancy from what it was pre-pandemic. Between 2019 and 2020, overall life expectancy across demographics fell to 78 years. Recent data suggests that life expectancy in New York City has begun to improve, with 2.7 years gained back from 2020 to 2021, however life expectancy remains well behind 2019 data. These impacts have also not been felt equally, as life expectancy fell to 76.1 years among Black New Yorkers in 2021, compared to 81.8 years among white New Yorkers.
While COVID-19 was the biggest driver of the decrease in life expectancy in 2020, other causes contributed to this decline, both locally and nationally. For example, overdose deaths increased in 2020 and 2021. Other drivers of decreasing lifespans included gun violence and chronic diseases, like diabetes. To address this trend, “HealthyNYC” outlines the following ambitious goals:
- Reduce cardiovascular disease and diabetes by 5 percent by 2030;
- Reduce screenable cancers — including lung, breast, colon, cervical, and prostate cancers — by 20 percent by 2030;
- Reduce overdose deaths by 25 percent by 2030;
- Reduce suicide deaths by 10 percent by 2030;
- Reduce homicide deaths by 30 percent by 2030;
- Reduce pregnancy-associated mortality among Black women by 10 percent by 2030; and
- Reduce annual COVID-19 deaths by 60 percent by 2030.
By reaching these milestones, the city can bring life expectancy above 83 years by 2030 and reduce existing racial disparities in life expectancy. The city will employ a number of strategies to achieve these reductions in deaths, including:
- Increasing access to naloxone, proven harm-reduction, and treatment and recovery centers to reduce overdose deaths;
- Expanding access to culturally responsive mental health care and social support services, including early intervention for communities of color and LGBTQIA+ youth and address the impact of social media on youth mental health and suicidal ideation to reduce suicide deaths;
- Increasing new families’ access to quality health care and social support to reduce pregnancy-associated mortality among Black women; and
- Increasing access to healthy foods and promoting plant-forward diets to reduce chronic and diet-related disease deaths.
Additionally, New York City Councilmember Lynn Schulman today announced new legislation to codify the city’s population health agenda and create a healthier New York City in the years to come. Under the legislation, DOHMH will consult with stakeholders and provide regular updates to the City Council on progress made.
The recent fall in life expectancy reversed years of progress that New York City had made over prior years. Life expectancy in New York City increased by three years between 2001 and 2010. While that figure roughly plateaued in subsequent years, the age-adjusted premature death rate was relatively level from 2016 to 2019, before plunging in 2020.
The major steps outlined in “HealthyNYC” build on the Adams administration’s efforts to building a healthier and safer city, including programs launched in “Care, Community, Action” — the city’s plan to improve family and child mental health while addressing the overdose crisis — as well as Mayor Adams’ “Blueprint to End Gun Violence.”
“Congratulations to New York City for its initiative in launching a campaign that aims to increase life expectancy,” said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. “The ‘Healthy NYC’ campaign reinforces many of the state Health Department’s goals of addressing systemic inequities and creating safer birth experiences for all New Yorkers; supporting a variety of prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery initiatives to help New Yorkers impacted by the opioid and overdose crisis; and ensuring equitable access to underserved populations. The new campaign reaches across all program areas and bridges many gaps, advancing equitable access to treatment and care for all New Yorkers.”
“For the first time in modern history, American life expectancy is changing course and steadily decreasing,” said New York State Assemblymember Kenny Burgos. “It is unconscionable for our city, with its wealth of experts and resources, not to address this public health crisis. I’m looking forward to ‘HealthyNYC’ address the major contributing factors to premature death in our communities.”
“Mayor Adams’ ‘HealthyNYC’ plan is an ambitious agenda taking the main drivers of early mortality and tackling them head on,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “At a time when average life expectancy in our city decreased 5.5 percent during the pandemic, we will bring an end to the avoidable situations that take our loved ones too soon, such as chronic diseases caused by poor diet, substance abuse, suicide, violence, and medical complications of pregnancy. I am proud to partner with the mayor to promote healthy living, educating the public on the plant-based lifestyle, which can extend life expectancy by up to 13 years. I look forward to partnering with the mayor to further address every cause of premature death so that New Yorkers live longer than ever before, with major gains for historically disadvantaged groups with lower life expectancies.”
“It’s long past time for New York to remedy health disparities that lead to higher rates of illness and shorter lifespans in our communities,” said New York State Assemblymember Brian A. Cunningham. “Expanding access to healthy food and mental health resources are critical. I am also pleased that ‘HealthyNYC’ will address maternal mortality, which is one of my top priorities. I commend Mayor Adams and DOHMH for their work on this initiative, and I look forward to assisting in any way I can.”
“Improving health outcomes and life expectancies for all New Yorkers is key to our city and its communities thriving,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “‘HealthyNYC’s’ focus on addressing the major causes that contribute to premature deaths and setting ambitious targets is vital to the long-term future of our city. Prioritizing equitable gains for historically under-served communities must also be a priority. I look forward to supporting efforts to promote comprehensive solutions that will advance health and wellness for all New Yorkers.”
“HealthyNYC stands as our city’s commitment to the well-being of every New Yorker. From fostering wholesome nutrition and nurturing mental health to safeguarding maternal well-being and reducing violence within our communities, the city is charting a course toward a better quality of life,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin. “Thank you Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan, and City Council Health Committee Chair Lynn Schulman for prioritizing public health.”
“I want to thank Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan for taking these ambitious and innovative steps to address the city’s morbidity and mortality rates through their ‘HealthyNYC’ program,” said New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez. “For far too long, the Bronx has been the unhealthiest county in the state, leading New York in the worst health factors, such as overdoses, suicide rates, maternal mortality, diabetes, obesity, and chronic and diet-related diseases. The ‘HealthyNYC’ program will not only improve the overall health of Bronxites and New Yorkers alike, but it will also raise their average life expectancy, allowing New Yorkers to live longer, well into their twilight years.”
“Mayor Adams has appropriately focused on good health as the foundation of success in all aspects of life. Dr. Vasan’s plan doubles down on the commitment to help New Yorkers achieve physical and mental well-being; nothing is more important,” said Kathryn Wylde, president & CEO, Partnership for New York City.
“The hospital community shares ‘HealthyNYC’s’ goal of improving the health and well-being of every New York City resident,” said Greater New York Hospital Association president Kenneth E. Raske. “Our hospitals have myriad programs and initiatives in place that align with ‘HealthyNYC’s’ prevention and health disparity reduction efforts. We thank Mayor Adams for spearheading this important campaign, and we look forward to working with the city to make ‘HealthyNYC’ a success.”
“We commend the city’s comprehensive focus on extending the lives of all New Yorkers – particularly those who are most vulnerable and in need of critical services to improve their behavioral and physical health,” said Pascale Leone, executive director, The Supportive Housing Network of New York. “Including important investments in overdose prevention centers and addiction treatment programs – approaches not typically considered as traditional ‘health care’ – demonstrate an understanding of the holistic approach required for true overall wellbeing. We hope to see more of these investments in the future to ensure that our most impacted neighbors can experience the longevity that good foundational care can bring.”
“CHCANYS’ vision is that every New York State community has primary care that encompasses all aspects of each patient’s health and well-being. That care is provided by Community Health Centers, which provide high quality, comprehensive care to everyone – regardless of who they are, where they’re from, or whether or not they can afford to pay – ensuring that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives. We look forward to working with the Adams administration to continue that work,” said Rose Duhan, president and CEO, Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS).
“The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy is fully supportive of Mayor Eric Adams’ and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s new plan to promote longer, healthier lives for all New Yorkers. This effort will improve access to quality public health care, underscoring this administration’s profound commitment to a healthier city and future generations of New Yorkers to come,” said CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy Dean Ayman El-Mohandes.
“Our communities have experienced a troubling decline in life expectancy due to major public health challenges such as Covid-19 and overdose deaths — but these declines have not been equally felt across racial and ethnic groups,” said New York University’s School of Global Public Health Dean Debra Furr-Holden. “We cannot accept our neighbors living sick and dying early, especially when so many of these deaths are preventable. We support the goal of helping New Yorkers to live longer, healthier lives, and I commend the administration and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for prioritizing health equity.”
“EmblemHealth is fully committed to supporting the mayor’s plan to help the people of New York City live longer, better, and healthier,” said Karen Ignagni, CEO, EmblemHealth. “The city’s big thinking approach will be a game changer. We will respond to this challenge by working hand in hand with the Health Department on prevention, wellness, and healthy living and do our part to create a stronger, healthier New York City.”
“United Hospital Fund commends the Adams administration and the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the focus on reducing excess and premature death in the plan to promote longer, healthier lives,” said Oxiris Barbot, MD, president and CEO, United Hospital Fund. “A more effective and equitable health care system for every New Yorker requires a laser focus on the inequities underlying the disparities in life expectancy, and we look forward to partnering with the city to improve the health of New Yorkers.”
“HealthyNYC is a bold plan to ensure New Yorkers live longer, healthier lives,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean, Brown School of Public Health. “The initiative is a testament to the leadership of Mayor Adams and Commissioner Vasan and their commitment to ensure New York doesn’t just recover from the deadly COVID pandemic but thrives in the years ahead. I firmly believe this will become a national model that other cities, states, and our entire nation can follow to help America’s health get back on track.”
“For years the American Heart Association has been striving to ensure everyone has an optimal, just opportunity to be healthy,” said Robin Vitale, vice president, community impact, American Heart Association / New York City. “But this is not the reality for many people of color and others whose health suffers because of social factors beyond their control. In fact, people in some historically excluded ZIP codes have shorter life expectancies than their neighbors just a few miles away. The American Heart Association is committed to advancing health equity – which can exist only when all people can have the opportunity to enjoy healthier lives. We’re removing barriers to health through work in communities, scientific research and advocating for healthy policies. We look forward to working with Mayor Adams and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to help New Yorkers live longer and healthier lives.”
“We applaud Mayor Adams and DOHMH Commissioner Vasan on the launch of ‘HealthyNYC.’ We look forward to continuing our work together to decrease emergency room visits for those living with asthma, especially as we continue to struggle with the negative health impacts from climate change. We also look forward to educating all eligible New Yorkers to get screened for lung cancer, ensure New Yorkers have the proper treatment for COVID-19 and long-COVID, and help those who want to quit their addiction to tobacco products,” said Michael Seilback, national assistant vice president of state public policy, American Lung Association.
“Approximately 42 percent of cancer cases and 45 percent of cancer deaths in the United States are linked to modifiable risk factors, meaning that nearly half of cancer diagnoses and deaths across the country are preventable,” said Michael Davoli, senior government relations director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in New York. “By ensuring that every New Yorker has access to tools that can help them prevent and fight illness, remain active and live a healthy life, we can begin to address the disparities that permeate our city and the health outcomes of our residents. ACS CAN looks forward to partnering with the Adams administration to actualize this goal, endeavoring to limit the harms of tobacco by ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and improve access to cancer screenings and precision medicine treatments.”
“…Harlem teams are honored to work alongside Mayor Adams…”
“The PILLARS and SAFE in Harlem teams are honored to work alongside Mayor Adams, his administration, and DOHMH to disrupt racial disparities in health, which has had a longstanding impact on Black and Latinx residents in New York City, said Dr. Felecia Pullen, founder and CEO, The PILLARS. “We aim to continue to support the mayor’s work to build health equity by delivering high-quality prevention and recovery services for every New Yorker regardless of their race, ethnicity, income, education, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, or ability to pay because everyone in our great city deserves access to health and wellness.”
“For close to two decades, our research has sought to understand why adolescents and emerging adults think about and attempt suicide, to assess those thoughts in ways that might improve their clinical care, and to diversify the populations that receive focus in youth suicide prevention,” said Dr. Regina Miranda, professor of psychology at Hunter College and director of clinical training of the CUNY Health Psychology and Clinical Science Doctoral Program. “Thus, I have been excited for CUNY to have the opportunity to help facilitate a partnership between the Youth Suicide Research Consortium, a network of youth suicide researchers from around the country, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to serve in an advisory capacity to the city’s BIPOC Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative.”
“Saving Mothers is grateful to Mayor Adams and his administration for this critical initiative, as it will aid us in our ongoing efforts to close the gap in maternal health care disparities among New York City’s most vulnerable populations and ensure healthier, happier pregnancies and a better, brighter future for every family within our beloved city,” said Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, OBGYN, associate professor, NYU Langone Medical Center and president & founder, Saving Mothers.
“All efforts should focus on returning to the norm of birthing journeys that include respect, inclusion, value of one’s lived experience, and uplifting shared decision making, thus allowing birthing experiences and outcomes to be measured on positive, memorable events that are centered on joy, happiness, basking in the miracle of life, not trauma, fear or toxic birth experiences,” said Ashanda St. Jean, chair OB/Gyn, Health Alliance Hospitals and DEI advisor at ACOG District II. “Understanding that health is wealth, we want to send out an SOS to all health care systems and facilities that they are vessels of healing that can ensure a pathway to tranquility, peace, joy, balance, harmony, and happiness through caring for patients with compassion, empathy, and above all, love. Our shared goal should strive to prepare all, physically and mentally to have the health that they deserve to pursue their life’s dreams.”
“I applaud the Adams administration and the Health Department for their continued commitment to promoting a healthier New York City,” said Kimberly Williams, president and CEO, Vibrant Emotional Health. “At Vibrant, we believe that mental well-being is the cornerstone of a thriving community. By prioritizing mental health, we can build a more resilient and vibrant city, where every New Yorker has the opportunity to lead a fulfilling and emotionally healthy life.”
“By integrating lifestyle medicine into the healthcare being delivered to New Yorkers, Mayor Adams and the city’s health leaders are taking innovative steps to prevent, to treat, and, in some cases, to put into remission chronic diseases so that people not only live longer, but also live healthier and happier,” said American College of Lifestyle Medicine President Beth Frates, MD, FACLM, DipABLM. “Our hope is that New York City will become a model to help other cities make lifestyle medicine the foundation of health and health care.”
“Historically, a person’s life span and quality of life has had a correlation to their zip code, meaning where you live influences your health and longevity. Many communities struggle with growing gaps and barriers to achieving health equity due to the social drivers of health – the conditions that affect a person’s access to quality health care, such as housing, education, food insecurity, and poor economic stability,” said Paloma Izquierdo- Hernandez, president and CEO, Urban Health Plan. “Urban Health Plan welcomes Mayor Adams’ plan and the administration’s goal to improve the life expectancy rates and quality of life of our most vulnerable communities.”
“Startling increases in premature deaths – along with shattering increases in chronic disease and its complications, mental health and substance use issues, maternal mortality, and other health disparities – seen in the wake of COVID-19 have erupted across the country, yet virtually nothing has happened to address this wide crisis in ways that we know will work. In contrast to the outpouring of funds for COVID-19 prevention and services, this unprecedented increase in widespread illness has now festered for more than three years even though it is clear that much of this illness, which has crippled whole communities, is also preventable. ‘HealthyNYC’ is truly groundbreaking; the Adams administration is making New York the first city to plan to overcome the true devastation to community health we now face and to recognize that chronic diseases and the other drivers of premature death must be fought with the same determination – and use of appropriate, proven strategies that we use to fight infectious disease. This hasn’t happened in the United States, but we can hope with it now happening in New York City, we will see impressive progress that will fundamentally change the American approach to health,” said Chris Norwood, executive director, Health People.
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