Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Planning the Baseline Behavior Assessment for Healthy Neighborhoods Fund

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

July 21, 2015






In 2014, NYHealth launched the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund, an initiative to build healthy and active communities across New York State.

NYHealth is investing $2 million in the initiative, which spans six communities. Considering the large level of investment in this initiative, it is critical to learn what is working or not working in these communities to improve health. To do so, NYHealth also will support an evaluation of the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund that would help substantiate the importance of investing in the built environment and healthy food access in a community. In 2015, NYHealth awarded a grant to New York University School of Medicine (NYU) to develop a baseline for behavior assessment for the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund.

Under this grant, NYU collected relevant data before and after grantee communities implemented their plans to evaluate program impact. Specifically, NYU developed a formal research plan to establish the baseline information about health behaviors of individuals within Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites. A team of faculty and staff from the Section on Health Choice, Policy, and Evaluation within NYU’s Department of Population Health developed the plan. Baseline data helped document the number of residents participating in physical activity programs and activities; percentage of residents purchasing and eating healthy foods; and level of knowledge/motivation among residents regarding healthy eating and physical activity. A tailored research plan ensured that the most appropriate, rigorous, and sensitive design was developed for each community that was evaluated.