Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Wellness Trust for Brooklyn

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

July 5, 2016







Poor neighborhoods in Brooklyn have some of the worst health outcomes in New York City and their hospitals struggle financially to keep their doors open and care for the people they serve. In particular, Central and East Brooklyn are the most vulnerable areas of the borough in terms of the health of their residents and the financial health of their hospitals.

In response to this crisis, Governor Cuomo budgeted $700 million in capital funding to stabilize the health care delivery system and improve and increase access to health care services in Central and East Brooklyn. The establishment of a Brooklyn Community Wellness Trust (the Trust) was proposed to complement and work toward the success of this City initiative and of other State health care investments in the borough. Modeled after the Massachusetts Prevention and Wellness Trust, the Brooklyn Trust ensured that community-based primary and preventive health care services are meeting neighborhood needs in a way that was grounded in principles of population health. In 2016, NYHealth awarded a planning grant to Research Foundation of the City University of New York (CUNY) to set the stage for creating and developing the Trust.

Under this grant, CUNY undertook an analysis to inform policy related to the creation of, funding for, and implementation of a financing strategy for population health activities by the Brooklyn Trust. Specifically, the analysis identified mechanisms for funding, governing, and selecting focus areas and projects of the Trust; the type of entity that would be best suited to run the Trust; and evaluation methods for the Trust and its community groups. To carry out this analysis, CUNY interviewed local stakeholders and stakeholders that drove the campaign for the Massachusetts Trust. It also reviewed existing Brooklyn community health needs assessments, New York City Community Health Profiles of Brooklyn, and cost analyses on preventable hospitalizations and emergency room admissions. Additionally, CUNY conducted economic modeling to identify the per-person investment that would yield cost savings.