New York State Department of Health Wins America's Health Rankings Champion Award

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 10, 2014) - The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has won the America's Health Rankings Champion Award from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the United Health Foundation. The award recognizes state and territorial health departments that have successfully used data from the United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings reports to develop initiatives and programs that improve health outcomes in their jurisdictions. New York is recognized for efforts in improving its overall national rankings and for consistently improving health outcomes.

"The New York State Department of Health is proud to have been recognized for its efforts to make New York the healthiest state in the nation," said acting New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "America's Health Rankings provides the core data points and benchmarks utilized in New York's Prevention Agenda 2013-2017. These indicators focus the Prevention Agenda on the priority areas that will most improve health outcomes."

"We commend Georgia and New York for making significant progress in improving health outcomes in their states, particularly around infant mortality, and cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality," said Paul Jarris, M.D., M.B.A., ASTHO executive director. "Other states have demonstrated consistent progress in collaborating with non-traditional partners, and working to address health disparities through their programs and initiatives."

A highlight of New York's success is the state's cancer mortality ranking, which has improved 24 rank positions, from 35th in the nation in 1990 to 11th in 2013. New York's decrease in cancer mortality is related to a number of factors including increases in early detection and improvements in cancer treatment, as well as the NYSDOH's focus on smoking cessation. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of smokers in New York declined by more than 700,000 and smoking prevalence was at 15.5 percent; well below the national average of 19.4 percent. These improvements can be traced back to evidence-based practices by NYSDOH such as evidence-based health communications campaigns, and other factors, including the highest state cigarette excise tax in the nation and a statewide comprehensive smoke-free air law.

To view the full 2014 America's Health Rankings report that was released on December 10, click here:

For more information on New York's Prevention Agenda 2013-2017, visit

For more information about New York's smoking cessation efforts, visit