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Central Harlem New York


The Harlem Best Babies Zone, located in Central Harlem (zip code 10027), is a bustling hub just miles from the prewar building where Ralph Ellison wrote a part of the iconic novel Invisible Man and brooded over the plight of a young man disempowered because of his class and his race. Central Harlem, in comparison to New York County, lives with a two fold increase in the mortality rate (7.5 vs. 3.7 per 2010 data), a 43% increase in the percent of individuals living at less than 200% of the poverty line (45.6% vs. 31.8% per 2012-2016 estimates), and a 37% increase in the percent of individuals with less than a high school degree (17.7% vs. 12.9% per 2012-2016 estimates). This is a historic community that in the 1920s and 1930s was the focus of the “Harlem Renaissance”, an outpouring of artistic work without precedent in the American black community. Today it is still the leader in setting the pace for the new generation but with a much more varied and vibrant population. The people in this community have already and continue to endure consistent socioeconomic struggles and other obstacles, and still strive for change and movement towards positive community outcomes.


Dedicated organizations are building on a strong foundation of work and experience in Central Harlem to develop the Harlem Best Babies Zone. The Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership (NMPP) is an umbrella community-based maternal and child health agency serving the various communities of Northern Manhattan for the past 25 years. Within NMPP, the Greater Harlem Healthy Start (GHHS) is an HRSA/MCHB-funded initiative operating for 20+ years. GHHS offers case management, health education and other services for pregnant and parenting women & men, as well as infants up to 2 years old. In addition to direct care services and training both for clients and professionals, GHHS works with other organizations collectively through the Harlem Community Action Network (HCAN) to bring together community providers and stakeholders in a unified manner to promote fundamental community and systems changes. Over the past 10 years, GHHS has embraced the Life Course Perspective, and the organization has moved toward greater integration of life course theory into its practices and services. GHHS has put together a dynamic group of individuals and organizations across different sectors that have the capacity and skills to implement the goals and vision of the BBZ at the highest level, including New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Network/Columbia University Medical Center Community Pediatrics, Sabree Education Services, and Grameen America.


Stay tuned!