Dispatches from the fight against homelessness and AIDS
Posted by Sunny Bjerk , February 05, 2013
Image from nytimes.com
Last month, a coalition of New York organizations, advocacy groups, and community leaders came together to host a Mayoral Candidate Forum on Public Health to give voters a better sense of each candidates’ stance on an array of important health issues. The goal of the forum was to ensure that “issues relating to public health and access to health care would become a key focus in the upcoming citywide elections.”
Although HIV/AIDS did not take center stage, the forum did address the challenges that New York City residents face when accessing health care, including costs, prohibitions, and general lack of funding. Many of the challenges New York City residents face in accessing health care include: unstable housing/homelessness, unemployment, culturally and linguistically competent health care professionals, decrease in funding, and immigrant access.
Despite the need for ALL mayoral candidates to prioritize the health care access and services, only four candidates showed up: Republican Tom Allon and Democrats John Liu, Sal Albanese, and Bill Thompson.
Surprisingly or not, Adolfo Carrion, John Catsimatidis, and supposed front-runner Christine Quinn did not attend the event. And this hodgepodge attendance only confused things more: some candidates attended the forum but did not fill out the “Candidates’ Questionnaire,” while some candidates (Quinn, Albanese and Catsimatidis) filled out the questionnaire but ditched attending the forum. As an aside, Christine Quinn and Adolfo Carrion didn’t answer the Candidates’ Questionnaire at all and instead sent letters detailing their thoughts on NYC health issues. Carrion signed his: “Thanks and have a successful forum.”
While you can read the candidates’ full answers to the questionnaire below, I wanted to share some highlights.
In response to the question: “What are you willing to do to ensure that support, programs, and funding are prioritized for people living with chronic illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS, asthma, diabetes, mental illnesses, and others,” some directly responded to the issue of HIV/AIDS, while others remained safe and generic (read: used platitudes).
Sal Albanese responded “As mentioned, public health services aimed at long-neglected communities will be a top priority in the Albanese administration. We will explore all potential sources of funding—municipal, state, federal, and private—that could help expand or establish effective services for those living with a chronic illness.
John Catsimatidis wrote, “I have diabetes. My father had diabetes. I am committed to do the best I can to help people and provide services so that they can live long lives with a better quality of life.”
John Liu answered, “I would make sure that the Department of Health has the specialists and maybe even create units within DOH to address these chronic diseases. I would also require DOH to work more closely with CBOs and other providers to make sure we are reaching the targeted populations.”
You can read the full questionnaire and answers below.
The Mayoral Candidate Forum on Public Health was organized and sponsored by:
Brooklyn Partnership to Drive Down Diabetes * Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York * Children’s Defense Fund – New York * Coalition for Asian American Children and Families * Commission on the Public’s Health System * Committee of Interns & Residents * Doctors Council, SEIU * Greater Brooklyn Health Coalition * Housing Works * LIU Brooklyn * Manhattan-Staten Island Area Health Education Center * New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage * New York Immigration Coalition * New York Lawyers for the Public Interest * New York State Nurses Association * Occupy Open Space * Physicians for a National Health Program, New York Metro * Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund * Public Health Association of New York City * Save Our Safety Net – Campaign * Sex Workers Project at Urban Justice Center * VOCAL – New York * Women’s City Club of New York
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