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[October 24, 2007]


New Report Examines Underlying Causes

Defying the notion that poverty, lack of health insurance, and other socioeconomic factors alone contribute to health disparities in disadvantaged communities, a new report by researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center reveals that how people view their health and what they do to improve it may be equally important in determining health outcomes.

The report and its impacts on the health care needs of the city’s most populous borough will be presented to community leaders and health care providers during a forum on Thursday Nov. 1 2007 at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

For media inquiries, contact:
Garry Pierre-Pierre
718-270-3866 (phone)/917-886-6654(cell)


The report, Brooklyn Community Health, presents a comparative look at Brooklyn and its 11 neighborhoods, highlighting those with the greatest unmet health and social needs. Each neighborhood profile provides readers with information at a glance on average income, education levels, family makeup, English-speaking ability, and other social and demographic characteristics.

As the report shows, Coney Island/Sheepshead Bay, a neighborhood with one of the largest concentrations of residents over 65, has one of the lowest vaccination rates against pneumonia—a leading killer among the elderly. Conversely, in Sunset Park, where a large percentage of residents say they can neither afford health insurance nor a personal doctor, the use of preventive health screenings is better than average.

In communities under the most economic and social stress, residents tend to rate their health as poor. This is true of Williamsburg/Bushwick, East New York, and Greenpoint, which have the highest percentages of single mothers with young children living in poverty, families without health insurance, and residents who do not have a high school diploma.

The report is a compilation of data from the 2000 US Census as well as the Community Health Surveys conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

In addition to Brooklyn Community Health, SUNY Downstate has produced reports on asthma, cancer, maternal and infant health, substance abuse, violence, and other health matters of interest to Brooklyn residents, health professionals and community leaders. To see any of these reports or download a copy, go to 3. html and