Prevention Agenda Toward the Healthiest State - 2008-2012

The New York State Department of Health developed the Prevention Agenda toward the Healthiest State, the Department's state health improvement plan for 2008-2012, as a call to action to local health departments, health care providers, health plans, schools, employers, and businesses to collaborate at the community level to improve the health status of New Yorkers through increased emphasis on prevention.


The Prevention Agenda identifies ten priorities for improving the health of all New Yorkers and asks communities to work together to address them.

Prevention Works

A goal of the Prevention Agenda is to prevent health problems before they occur, or before they worsen.

The things we do, the food we eat, the air, water around us, and the design of our communities contribute to the majority of deaths in New York and the nation.

And, believe it or not, that's good news, because health promotion and disease prevention can help us eat healthier foods, successfully quit smoking, and enjoy living in safe environments with clean air and water.

Health promotion and disease prevention activities might include investigating disease outbreaks, labeling foods that are high in fat, counseling and drug treatments to help people quit smoking, and testing water supplies to make sure they are free from chemicals or other pollution. Laws such as the Clean Indoor Air Act that bans smoking in public buildings, bars and restaurants protect people's health.

Keeping people healthy by preventing illness in the first place makes much more sense than having to treat them when sick. Community-based prevention can yield a return on investment through savings in health care and Medicaid budgets.

That's what New York's Prevention Agenda is all about.

Community Health Planning Approach

Another goal of the Prevention Agenda is to involve a wide range of organizations and community members in developing community health plans that identify and address problems that affect the health of New Yorkers.The Prevention Agenda calls on local health departments and hospitals to identify two or three of the ten Prevention Agenda priorities and to work with community providers, insurers, community based organizations and others to address them. Statewide program and policy initiatives will complement local efforts.

In 2009, local health departments and hospitals joined together to conduct community health planning and develop improvement plans to achieve measurable progress in meeting health-related objectives.The County Strategies and Partners Matrix was compiled from the 2010-2013 community health assessments submitted in 2009 by 57 local health departments outside New York City. For the priorities that each county selected, the matrix lists the hospitals, community organizations and other local health departments that are working collaboratively to address the priorities. The strategies which are briefly described in this matrix are being used to improve population health outcomes.

The Department of Health will share information about programs and strategies that have been shown to promote health and prevent illness. Some of this comes from actions taken right here in New York's cities, towns and village, or in similar communities elsewhere. Recommendations from national public health groups will also be shared. The use of this information in planning and conducting effective programs is called evidence based public health.

2010 LHD Update for the Prevention Agenda

In 2010, each LHD was asked for an update on their county's progress toward planning and implementing strategies described in the 2010-2013 Community Health Assessments. The purpose of the survey was to assess what LHDs have done toward addressing the community's selected Prevention Agenda priorities; their progress toward implementing local plans; the challenges they are facing; and technical assistance they need. A report on the findings from this survey can be found here: Prevention Agenda 2010 Update: Local Health Departments.

Hospital Community Service Plan Updates

In 2010, each non-profit hospital in the state prepared an update to their Community Service Plan describing efforts to address Prevention Agenda priorities. Hospitals worked with local health departments and partners to identify local priorities and develop action plans to achieve measurable progress toward health improvement in their communities. A review of these plans indicates that a majority of the state's hospitals have established partnerships with local health departments and community partners, identified at least two priorities, and have developed plans to address their chosen priorities. The Community Service Plans can be strengthened by identifying a clear focus within the chosen priority areas, selecting and adapting evidence-based strategies, and tracking a balanced set of process and impact measures for improvement. A report on the findings from Community Service Plans can be found here: 2011 Hospital Community Service Plan (pdf, 216 KB, 2 pp.) | 2010 Hospital Community Service Plan Update (pdf, 248 KB, 4 pp.)

Tracking Public Health Priorities

Selected Indicators for Tracking Public Health Priority Areas, along with measurable Prevention Agenda 2013 objectives, provide information to plan prevention programs, develop new policies, and measure our progress. Tables are available at the New York State and county level.

The Prevention Agenda aims to reduce or eliminate racial, ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities where they exist. Information about health disparities is included in the New York State table. An expanded list of health indicators is also available by race and ethnicity in tabular form at the county level.