Family Health Centers at NYU Langone in Sunset Park. Photo: Google Maps.

Sunset Park has been given a $24 million investment in healthcare that aims to increase vaccination rates and access to high-quality, comprehensive care in the neighborhood.

The money was given to the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone through the federal American Rescue Plan Act and is the second largest grant in New York.

The money will go towards COVID-19 education and vaccination; behavioral health staff and services expansion; technology upgrades that impact community health; dental training and care; pediatric and adult pulmonary programs; outreach; broadening access to primary care services; and supporting community-based partners.

Larry McReynolds, executive director of the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone, said the significant award recognized the merit of each program outlined in the health centers’ grant proposal and enabled the centers “to do much more to make a difference in thousands of lives.”

“Strengthening healthcare infrastructure in underserved communities through this visionary plan improves New York City’s health status overall,” he said.

Sunset Park is one of the highest Medicaid-concentrated communities in the United States, and the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone is a community-based program that provides primary and preventive outpatient care to adults and children, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status.

The program serves approximately 100,000 people each year throughout Brooklyn and other parts of New York City.

Isaac P. Dapkins, MD, chief medical officer at the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone, said the breadth and scope of programs supported by the award would allow the centers to reach more people through the pandemic and beyond.

“This grant recognizes that our community is in desperate need of resources that contribute to wellness and overall wellbeing, including access to high-quality healthcare, social, educational, and emotional support,” he added. 

On top of physical wellness, one of the programs supported by the grant will bolster an “over-burdened network of mental health services and professionals” by enhancing access to behavioral health screening, telehealth, and in-person treatment; care coordination and crisis response; support efforts to reduce substance abuse and social stresses; and reach more New Yorkers who lack housing.

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, who helped secure the federal funding, said : “Our community faces many healthcare challenges amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan funding ensures the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone continues their important work, providing crucial services during an unprecedented time.”

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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