The effects of poverty on health, including difficulty obtaining nutritious food, unemployment, and the
burden of high rents are observed in the communities that Jamaica Hospital serves, particularly in East
New York, Brooklyn, and in pockets of Southwest Queens and Jamaica.
Chronic diseases, obesity, tobacco use, behavioral health concerns, maternal morbidity, and late or no
prenatal care were among the health issues highlighted in the community-level data analyses that Jamaica
Hospital conducted for this Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). These health concerns were
also identified by residents of the Hospital’s service area who responded to a health needs assessment
survey sponsored by the Hospital during the spring and summer of 2019. Many of these health problems
are caused in part by or exacerbated by the social determinants of health (SDH). The Hospital has begun
focused efforts to address SDH, including the effects of discrimination, as part of its treatment of the
whole person.
Breastfeeding, which lowers the risk of death from infectious diseases in a child’s first two years of life,
and can also reduce the risk of childhood obesity as well as the risk of a woman developing breast or
ovarian cancer, is still not practiced as often in parts of the Hospital’s service area as it is in New York
City overall. Jamaica Hospital has focused on improving rates of exclusive breastfeeding among the
women giving birth in the Hospital and those attending its ambulatory care centers with their infants, as
well as among mothers in the community. The Hospital is designated as a Baby Friendly Hospital for
offering an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding.
Tobacco use and secondhand smoke, as well as household/outdoor air pollution, were identified as
ongoing community health concerns that are correlated with chronic disease, such as asthma and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease as well as cancer. Responding to the needs of the community, Jamaica
Hospital has focused on improving tobacco cessation rates. The Hospital was awarded Gold Star Status
from the NYC DOHMH’s Tobacco-Free Hospitals Campaign in recognition of its tobacco cessation
programming and successes, and continues to comply with the Campaign’s standards.
With the benefit of community input, the Hospital has chosen to highlight the prevalence of these two
health issues in its service area as well as the Hospital’s concerted efforts to address them in its three year
comprehensive Community Service Plan and Implementation Plan. These initiatives are in alignment
with the NYS Prevention Agenda Priorities and the Healthy People 2020 goals.
Full report can be obtained here: community-service-plan