Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Engaging the Community to Decrease Drug Dependent Newborns

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

May 30, 2014


Central NY




To help foster statewide implementation of prevention activities, the New York State Department of Health issued the Prevention Agenda 2013–17 to address disease prevention and reduce health disparities.

All 58 local health departments were required to submit a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) to the State outlining their strategies to advance the Prevention Agenda. To help energize the implementation of these CHIPs, the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) awarded grants to health departments with the most innovative and feasible projects to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities through the Advancing New York State’s Prevention Agenda: A Matching Funds Program to Implement Community Health Improvement Plans initiative. The Prevention Agenda offered NYHealth a timely opportunity to build upon its work in diabetes prevention by helping support initiatives that tackled the root causes of diabetes and other chronic conditions, such as obesity and smoking. NYHealth awarded the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion (Lerner Center) at Syracuse University a grant to participate in this initiative.

Lerner Center, in partnership with the Onondaga County Health Department, used funds to focus on the Prevention Agenda priority area of promoting mental health and preventing substance use. It worked to form a community collaborative for the prevention of perinatal substance use and reduced the number of drug-dependent babies in Onondaga County. The collaborative brought together clinical and human service providers to share information, examine local data, and identify best practices with the goal of developing policies, procedures, and education messages to decrease substance use or increase identification of women at risk for having drug-dependent newborns. Lerner Center also trained individuals to become community connectors—peers within highest-risk neighborhoods who can connect other residents to the health care delivery system and community-based organizations that provide substance use prevention and treatment programs.

See a full list of recipients from this initiative.