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UMatter Schenectady

Coalition Announces Efforts to Better Identify and Meet Community’s Health Needs


SCHENECTADY, NY - The Schenectady Coalition for a Healthy Community today unveiled a first-of-its-kind community-based campaign for Schenectady County. Called “UMatter Schenectady”, the project seeks to identify unmet health and social needs, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and build an action plan to address them.

“The Coalition is committed to a shared goal – to ultimately improve health outcomes and quality of life and reduce disparities by better meeting the needs of our community,” said Ellis Medicine President and CEO, James Connolly.

The Schenectady Coalition for a Healthy Community (SCHC) is a group of more than 40 organizations that provide essential healthcare, social, educational and community services in Schenectady County. SCHC will oversee an extensive door-to-door survey of Schenectady residents that begins Saturday, February 23rd in the city’s North End.

Specially-trained Community Health Workers will visit a different city neighborhood every weekend for 12 weeks to conduct the 30-minute survey. Survey questions will ask about health and access to quality of care and will touch upon factors that impact health and wellness such as social support, education, employment, transportation and a safe, secure, place to live. Results will be anonymous.

“Our approach recognizes that health is holistic,” said Joanne Cocozzoli, Schenectady County Public Health Director. “This face-to-face survey will provide us with detailed information specific to city neighborhoods, so together we can work to prioritize and target those needs and hopefully improve health outcomes and quality of life.”

Survey results will be analyzed and shared with city residents who will be asked for their input.
“Solutions come from partnerships across the community in collaboration with residents of the community,” said Schenectady City Mission Director Michael Saccocio. “This project will give residents a voice. From this survey, broader stories will emerge, barriers will be revealed and we’ll work on them together,” he added.

Executive Director Deb Schimpf of Schenectady Community Action Program remarked that participation is key to the project’s success. “I am proud to be a Coalition partner for this important and vital community project. SCAP has served low income families in Schenectady for nearly 50 years. As a result, we recognize it is imperative to address health disparity on a neighborhood and individual level. I want to encourage the residents of Schenectady that when a survey team comes to your door, please let them in and share your voice.”

The pilot project will first focus on the city of Schenectady, with the long term goal of extending the survey countywide. The project is supported by a $100,000 grant from The Schenectady Foundation.

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