Unique Research Center in New York City Focuses on Urban Health

From 1995 to 1996, the New York Academy of Medicine, New York, established he Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies.

The center brings together the eight medical schools in New York City and Westchester and Suffolk Counties, the Columbia University School of Public Health, and the New York City Department of Health to undertake collaborative, inter-institutional research on health problems disproportionately affecting residents of New York City and other urban areas.

This collaborative approach allows for more comprehensive research than could be undertaken at individual institutions.

The center aims to increase knowledge in both traditional areas of epidemiological research (e.g., control of infectious diseases) and new areas (e.g., prevention of violence) in an effort to improve the health of urban populations.

Key Results

  • A professional staff was recruited.

  • A Management Advisory Committee was established to strengthen links among the partners and provide guidance on the center's agenda and other matters.

  • An initial research agenda was established, focusing on four broad areas:

    • Behavioral strategies for prevention of current epidemics.
    • Environmental health.
    • Early life/childhood antecedents of health status.
    • Teaching epidemiology methods.
  • Task forces on areas of concern, such as immunization, violence, and preventive health, were created to develop research projects in specific areas. Research proposals were submitted to various funders.

  • The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a new federal initiative modeled on the center entitled "Urban Centers for Applied Research in Public Health." The CDC funded centers in Detroit and Seattle and placed a CDC officer at the center who coordinates the center's activities with the other two cities.