Across the United State of America, chronic diseases (i.e, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, chronic lung disease, arthritis and obesity) are the leading causes of death, illness, and disability. The principal risk factors of the leading chronic diseases are tobacco use, physical inactivity, poor diet, and alcohol misuse (Dept. of Health and Human Services).
Northwest Brooklyn has the same concerns. Providing a Health Facility that is proactive in health promotion and risk awareness, and fastidious about primary health care, will have a positive impact on the health of the community in reducing the incidence of these diseases. “Urban communities continue to face formidable historic challenges to improving public health. However, reinvestment initiatives, changing demographics, and growth in urban areas are creating changes that offer new opportunities for improving health while requiring that health systems be adapted to residents’ health needs (American Journal of Public Health, .2000June;90(6):858-862).”
The abovementioned American Journal article addresses the needs that still exist eight years after its publication and forecasts the role that Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) plays as a re-investor in our Brooklyn community. Our Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) Health Care Facility is part of creative change that will offer new opportunities for improving health in the communities of the Atlantic Yards footprint. As per the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), the Health Care Facility is described as follows:
“The Project Developer and the DBNA will work with an appropriate health care provider that will operate a community health care center to be located within a building at the Project. The center shall provide comprehensive quality primary care at client convenient hours, and will include a health care clinic, health promotion center, a library, screening center, and wellness center. The Health Care Clinic will provide primary care in areas that will be determined based on community needs assessment, real-time services being provided by existing health facilities and statistics from the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Health Promotion Center will provide a variety of health information and education sessions to patients and family members. The library will be a user friendly continual source of online information and print material on a plethora of health issues of concern to the community. It will also provide steps to take in a particular situation and steps in handling the threat of illness. The Screening Center is intended to provide screenings to support the services of the clinic. The Wellness Center will provide alternative medicine opportunities to include, but not be limited to, massage therapy and acupuncture.”