Healthy Moms = Healthy Babies

healthymomshealthybabiesIt is a sad fact that mothers and newborns living in low-income communities like East Harlem suffer from preventable illnesses and serious health risks that tragically take or undermine lives. Just because there are mothers and babies that live in poverty and do not have access to health care or may lack the presence of family or mentors that can help and teach them how to keep their babies well, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to knowledge about completely preventable health problems. The Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSA) has made it their priority to bring maternal awareness to this travesty. And there are two ways you can get involved:

  1. LSA is hosting a Virtual Baby Shower through Amazon.com, where you can donate necessities to those who need it most – it includes everything from diapers to baby formula.
  2. Additionally, they are holding a Mother’s Day Haiku and Short Poem Contest. The deadline is May 10th at noon, and you can submit your work (Spanish and English accepted) online or tweet it to @LSA_EastHarlem. The First Place prize is a $100 Macy’s gift card; Second Place prize is a Mother’s Day brunch for two at Kings’ Carriage House; and Third Place prize is a beautiful spring bouquet by Kathy Flowers.

We hope you have a very Happy Mothers Day this weekend & don’t forget about the mothers and babies in our community that could use an extra hand.

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Why Are NYC Public Schools Failing Gym? Melissa Joined the Panel to Discuss the Issues

Last Monday, Melissa spoke on a panel entitled “Healthy Minds in Healthy Bodies: The Case for Implementing a Full Physical Education Curriculum in NYC’s Public Schools,” hosted by the Women’s City Club of New York. The panel was convened in response to a number of recent studies showing that NYC public schools are failing to meet State guidelines for physical education.

This issue prompted Melissa to write a letter to the Department of Education last year, signed by thirty-five Council Members inquiring about the DOE’s plan to improve the quantity and quality of gym class in City schools and to address the disparities between schools. Melissa was joined by education chair Robert Jackson along with other phys ed experts, all of whom discussed the many evidence-based benefits of PE, including improved academic achievement along with physical health.

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Melissa expressed her strong stance on this issue:

“Providing quality physical education in our public schools is critical in a time when our City is facing a staggering childhood obesity epidemic! It is shocking that according to the City Comptroller’s Audit none of the 31 elementary schools visited were meeting State requirements for gym class, due to factors such as co-locations and budget cuts. This issue is particularly important to low-income communities of color such as the South Bronx, East and Central Harlem, and Bedford-Stuyvesant which are disproportionately impacted by higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other related illnesses. The issue of gym class is a symptom of the overall direction the DOE has been headed over the last decade. Budget cuts, a lack of gym teachers, an overemphasis on high-stakes test prep, and the co-location of charter schools, have all served to undermine physical education in our schools.”

Learn About the Mott Haven Choice Neighborhood Initiative on Saturday and Next Wednesday

If you live, go to school, do business, or provide services in Mott Haven – we have great news for you! Mott Haven has been selected for the Choice Neighborhood Initiative to transform the neighborhood by improving job opportunities, public safety, education, health, housing, and more.

Come learn how to be part of the initiative at one of the kick-off events — you can come at 2 PM on Saturday, April 20, or at 6 PM on Wednesday, April 24. See more details in the flyer below (la versión en español también esta adjunta). Everyone is welcome: residents, students, parents, business owners, local organizations, churches, etc. Light refreshments will be served. See you there!

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Free Digital Mammograms and Clinical Breast Exams on Friday, March 8th

The American-Italian Cancer Foundation and Multi-Diagnostic Services (MDS) will be providing no-cost mobile breast cancer screening services to East Harlem on Friday, March 8th, from 9 AM to 4 PM. Early detection of breast cancer can save lives, so call to make an appointment today – (877) 628-9090. Your results will be sent to you and/or your doctor within 10 business days.

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Professional medical services from MDS:

  • Mammogram performed by a certified, licensed mammography technologist.
  • Clinical breast exam and instruction in breast self-exam by a trained professional.
  • Radiological interpretations performed by Board Certified Radiologists.

For more information about MDS, you can visit their website or call (877) 628-9090

ON THE DAY OF YOUR VISIT:

  • You are recommended to wear a two-piece outfit.
  • Please do not use any oil, powder, deodorant, or perfume in the breast, underarm or chest area.
  • If you have Medicare, Medicaid or other health insurance, you must bring your card with you. Your insurance will be billed for services; however you will not be charged a co-pay and will not receive a bill.
  • For women without health insurance, services will be paid for by the Screening Partnerships of the New York State Cancer Services Program (NYS CSP) or through generous contributions by the American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s donors. For more information about the NYS CSP, please call (866) 442-CANCER (2262).
  • Comparison radiological studies are important. If you provide MDS with previous mammogram films, this comparison will be performed. In some cases, it can eliminate the need for additional testing.
  • If you would like your results sent to your doctor, please provide MDS with his or her full name and address.

WHO: New York City Council, The American-Italian Cancer Foundation, Multi-Diagnostic Services, East Harlem Council for Human Services, Inc. Bilingual Head Start, Avon Foundation Breast Health Outreach Program, National Breast Cancer Foundation, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, The Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and New York State Department of Health
WHAT: Mobile No-Cost Breast Cancer Screening Program
WHEN: Friday, March 8, 2013. 9 AM to 4:30 PM
WHERE: East Harlem Council for Human Services, Inc.  Bilingual Head Start – 440 E 116th St (between 1st Avenue and Pleasant Avenue)
AN APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARY – CALL (877) 628-9090
Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Re-Imagine The East Harlem Waterfront, This Thursday

How do you envision the East Harlem Waterfront? Please stop by and share your ideas and learn about community resources and opportunities for the East River Esplanade/El Paseo/El Malecon, on Thursday, February 28th at the Johnson Community Center. Refreshments will be provided.

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WHO: Trees New York, Greening The Gap, Hunter College Urban Planning Studio, and CIVITAS
WHAT: Re-Imagine The East Harlem Waterfront Community Visioning Session
WHEN: Thursday, February 28, 2013. 7 PM – 9 PM.
WHERE: Johnson Community Center; 1820 Lexington Avenue (btwn East 112 & East 115th Streets)
RSVP HERE

WIN $100– Do you live or work in East Harlem?  Please complete this survey to share your opinion about the East Harlem waterfront, and to be entered into a drawing to win a $100 prize.

Melissa Calls On DOE To Comply With New York State Guidelines for PE

Last week, Melissa spearheaded a press conference, covered by NY 1, calling on the New York City Department of Education to be in full compliance with New York State guidelines for physical education (PE) in New York City public schools.  Recent reports from the American Heart Association and the Women’s City Club of New York have demonstrated a clear need to improve the quality and quantity of PE in New York City.  The benefits of PE are far reaching evidence shows that school-based PE leads to improved academic achievement, increased state standardized test scores and a student’s health and overall well-being. PE also improves a child’s cognitive ability and behavior.

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Melissa expressed her concern regarding this critical issue saying:

“Providing quality physical education instruction for our children is absolutely critical in a time when our City is facing a staggering childhood obesity epidemic!  It is unacceptable that teens in East Harlem (which I represent) are nearly three times less likely to attend a daily gym class than teens in more affluent neighborhoods!  And we wonder why our community has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the city.  This is why I spearheaded a letter to the DOE signed by 35 of my colleagues, asking the department about its strategy to improve the quantity and quality of PE instruction in our schools and demanding a plan to address the disparities between schools that have sufficient PE programs and those that do not.”

Learn About HIV Prevention Efforts in Immigrant Communities

Join us on the morning of Thursday, January 17th at the Hunter School of School of Social Work to The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network’s “Maximizing HIV Prevention in Immigrant Communities in 2013 – Programs and Policies Affecting East Harlem and Beyond” panel. Melissa will be speaking at the event, in addition to the Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Iris House and the NYC Department of Health/Mental Hygiene.

Find out about the impact that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other policies can have on maximizing HIV prevention in immigrant communities as well as what resources are available for residents, and more. Did you know that even though death rates due to HIV have decreased in East Harlem in the past decade, our community still has the second highest HIV-related death rate in the city? Stop by to get informed.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network, Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Iris House and the NYC Department of Health/Mental Hygiene
WHAT: “Maximizing HIV Prevention in Immigrant Communities in 2013 – Programs and Policies Affecting East Harlem and Beyond” Panel
WHEN: Thursday, January 17th, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
WHERE: Hunter School of Social Work, East 119th Street & 3rd Avenue, 2nd floor
*For more information & to RSVP, please contact Joe Pressley in the Office of Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito at 212.828.9800 or via email at jpressley@council.nyc.gov OR contact Thierry Ekon at the NYCDOH/MH Harlem District Public Health Office at 347.396.7776 or via email at aekon@health.nyc.gov

The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network is an initiative launched by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Office out of a desire to support each other as service providers and advocates working with the immigrant community in District 8. The network is open to organizations interested in collaborating and sharing information relating to programming and services, and in discussing issues of immigrant rights, the political environment, and the challenges facing the immigrant community in the district.

Melissa Receives Top Human Rights Report Card Score For the Third Consecutive Year

MMV human rights report cardThe Urban Justice Center’s Human Rights Project works tirelessly to improve the lives of New Yorkers living in poverty by monitoring and advocating for human rights, especially those related to employment, housing, health, food and education. For the past five years, the Human Rights Project has released an annual Report Card. This Report Card is designed to advance the use of a human rights framework in policy evaluation and advocacy; as well as measuring the commitment of the New York City Council to promoting human rights in New York City.

We are all very proud to announce that for the third year in a row, Melissa has been one of the highest scored City Council members in human rights as per the Human Rights’ Report Card. With her passion and commitment to advancing the rights of our city’s most vulnerable populations and building a more just city for all, this is a major honor that underscores all her hard work in these areas.