Prestigious Five-Year $1.3 Million Grant Will Fund Effort to Identify and Implement Community Programs to Serve as Statewide Model
Aug 1, 2007
The New York State Department of Health has chosen Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian to be one of three state Centers for Best Practices in Childhood Obesity Prevention. A five-year $1.3 million state grant will fund efforts to identify and implement effective ways to reduce the number of obese and overweight school-aged children in the northern Manhattan community and statewide.
Nationally, more than 15 percent of children are overweight, and the childhood obesity rate has nearly tripled since 1970. The number of obese and overweight children in medically underserved urban environments is even greater, including close to half of all school-aged children in Washington Heights.
"Childhood obesity is one of the single most challenging issues facing children and families. I want to thank Governor Spitzer and the Department of Health for their leadership, giving us the opportunity to pursue ways of promoting healthy lifestyles and prevent obesity in children, including its associated health risks," says Cynthia Sparer, executive director of Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian. "We are confident our Center for Best Practices will have a major impact on the health of children today and continuing as they grow into healthy adults."
The Center for Best Practices at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital will involve close collaboration with local community organizations, building upon ongoing programs and developing new interventions for children to serve as models across the state.
"Partnering with community groups, schools, pediatric providers, legislative leaders and others is essential to the success of this effort. Only by building a broad-based coalition can we hope to encourage the kind of enthusiasm and momentum to make the changes necessary for improving the health of our children," says Dr. Patricia Hametz, director and principal investigator of the program. She is a pediatrician at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The new Center for Best Practices will build on the success of another Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital program – Healthy Schools Healthy Families. Begun in 2004, the initiative has created school-based programs for preventing and reducing obesity, asthma, depression, and other chronic conditions, and facilitating access to health insurance, social services, preventive, primary, and specialty care. Serving seven elementary schools in Harlem and Washington Heights, Healthy Schools Healthy Families consists of a partnership with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Komansky Center for Children's Health, the New York City Department of Education, the New York City Department of Health, and a coalition of multiple other community-based organizations. The program is directed by Dr. Hametz.
The Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital Center for Best Practices will focus on school-aged children, ages 5 to 12. The other Centers for Best Practices – at the Research Foundation of the State University of New York (SUNY) in Stony Brook and the Foundation for Healthy Living in Latham and Buffalo – are funded for programs targeting infants and young children, respectively.
Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian
Ranked by U.S.News & World Report as one of the top six children's hospitals in the country, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian offers the best available care in every area of pediatrics – including the most complex neonatal and critical care, and all areas of pediatric subspecialties – in a family-friendly and technologically advanced setting. Building a reputation for more than a century as one of the nation's premier children's hospitals, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and is New York City's only hospital dedicated solely to the care of children and the largest provider of children's health services in the tri-state area with a long-standing commitment to its community. Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is also a major international referral center, meeting the special needs of children from infancy through adolescence worldwide.