A Message From Dr. Karen Aletha Maybank

A Message from Dr. Aletha Maybank 

Associate Professor; Director, Large Research Initiatives; Chief- Section for Health Equity in the Department of Population Health and Medicine at the New York University School Of Medicine 
Articles on health disparities in people with disabilities:
  • Article: Health disparities among adults with developmental disabilities, adults with other disabilities, and adults not reporting disability in North Carolinahttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1497651/
  • Newacheck, Paul W., Yun-Yi Hung, and Kara K. Wright. "Racial and ethnic disparities in access to care for children with special health care needs." Ambulatory Pediatrics 2.4 (2002): 247-254.
  • Ouellette-Kuntz, H. (2005), Understanding Health Disparities and Inequities Faced by Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 18: 113-121. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3148.2005.00240.x
  • Gary, Faye A. "Stigma: Barrier to mental health care among ethnic minorities." Issues in Mental Health Nursing 26.10 (2005): 979-999.

1Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York, "Disability Matters: Unequal Treatment and the Status of People with Disabilities in New York City and New York State (July 26, 2011)

According to the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS), 10.4% of New York City residents, or 889,219 people, have a disability. 1 The percentage is marginally higher in Brooklyn, where 10.8% of borough residents, or 269,060 people, have a disability. About 30% of New York City's disabled population lives in Brooklyn.

Since 1965, BCID's mission has been to empower people with disabilities by improving the quality of their lives and advocating for equal access to society for people with disabilities. "We are pleased that BHDC has been so receptive to working with BCID. Minorities with disabilities face enormous disparities compared to minorities who do not have disabilities. Addressing disability issues is key to improving health outcomes in minorities overall."

Peters highlighted health disparities as a major issue among people with disabilities. Nationally, adults with disabilities report fair or poor health more frequently than Hispanics or blacks. Obesity is higher among people with disabilities, as are diabetes, stroke, and coronary heart disease. Peters commented, "Being Deaf shouldn't intrinsically put you at a higher risk of heart attack." Women with mobility impairments have a much lower adjusted odds ratio of pap smears than other women. Being in a wheelchair affected the diagnosis of and treatment decisions for women with early-state breast cancer.

Health Program Manager, & NY State of Health IPA / Navigator The Arab-American Family Support Center

Maha Attieh
Question: How have you and The Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC) been involved with the roll out of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA)?

Community Advisory Board Members


Brooklyn Health Disparities Center

Hi all!

I hope this message finds you well.  As some of you already know, this past fall I was appointed by Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett to build a new division in the health department called the Center for Health Equity.  I am honored, excited, and have been very busy in this new role.   I am no longer directly over the Brooklyn Office, however, with great fortune, the Brooklyn District Public Health Office along with the other two Offices in Harlem and the South Bronx all now report to the Center for Health Equity.  Even though, I now sit in the central office in LIC,  I am still very much connected to the District Public Health Offices as we consider these offices playing a key part in advancing health equity through their place-based and neighborhood focus in NYC.


I am very pleased to announce the appointment of K. Torian Easterling, M.D., M.P.H., as the new Assistant Commissioner of the Center for Health Equity’s Brooklyn District Public Health Office, effective April 13, 2015.


Since 2012 Dr. Easterling, a board-certified physician in both family medicine and preventive medicine, has served as the Assistant Professor of the Department of Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine at New Jersey Medical School, UMDNJ. While at UMDNJ, Dr. Easterling oversaw the training of medical students, drawing from his upbringing in Newark and East Orange N.J., along with his travels abroad to Haiti, Ghana, Liberia, and domestically to New Orleans. This diversity of life experience enriched his teaching, and allowed his students to better understand the barriers to health delivery in impoverished and resource-poor environments, while simultaneously providing them with the skills needed to address these obstacles.


In addition, Darrin Taylor who served as my Deputy Director in Brooklyn has also moved centrally to LIC and  is now the Executive Director of Administration for the Center for Health Equity.  Ewel Napier now serves as the Deputy Director of the Brooklyn District Public Health Office.


Please join me in welcoming Dr. Easterling and Mr. Napier to their new roles! 


And for all of my BK partners, thank you for all of your support and know that I am only a phone call or email away…also I still live in the neighborhood!  See you soon.


Aletha Maybank

Disability Prevalence in New York City

Joan Peters presented on the issues associated with being a disabled person who is also a member of a racial and/or ethnic minority group at BHDC's November 2013 Journal Club meeting. Her presentation led to innovations in training SUNY Downstate Medical Center students.

Joan Peters, Executive Director BCID

Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled

Community Partner Insider

 First, I think it is a great time to talk about ACA to bring awareness and to get ready for the next enrollment period. I also want to say it's great to partner and work with Arthur Ashe Institute and the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center's wonderful professional staff and volunteers that are involved in the work we do. We have greatly appreciated being part of great coalition and committee.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as (OBAMA Care), is simply a Health insurance program for people who don't have health insurance in United States, (sad to say it is not for undocumented immigrant groups). Some of the states adopted the program on the state level while other states went for Federal level involvement. New York has a state controlled program called NEW YORK STATE OF HEALTH (NYS of Health).

It's very important for people to know that, by law, you must have health insurance or you will pay a penalty when you file for taxes. There are different programs and plans that you can be enrolled in depending on income and family size. Programs include Medicaid and Child Health Program, private plans, employer plans or Qualified Health Plan (QHP/Obama Care plan). You can choose the level of monthly premium you can afford (plus extra expenses like deductibles and co-payments).

The Arab American Family Support Center, a not for profit organization, was the only Arab American Agency (CBO) granted the opportunity to become a Navigator site for the NYS of Health. In September, I was trained and certified as an in person assistor and Navigator to help the clients from every community especially the Arabic speaking to apply for health insurance.

The first enrollment period was from October 1st 2013- to March 31st 2014. We did not know what to expect or the number of people that would show up for enrollment. As "word of mouth" information spread about our ACA services, responses were high and our office was packed, but we survived. As a result, 600 clients have health insurance for 2014 in NYC & Long Island (only 50 people on QHP the rest on Medicaid program). Of the 351 applications, 281 were completed with assistance in the Arabic Language).

In April I had the chance to attend The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) ACA conference in California representing our state lead agency The Coalition for Asian American Children and Families ( CACF) and I was able to speak on behalf of every immigrant community about challenges and strategies that might be used to help them.

Other services we provide at the heath program include access to health care for our community clients with providers who speak their language, workshops on areas of health disparities like Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer, Drug overdose and more, for other programs and services at our agency please check our web site at
www.aafscny.org .

The next ACA enrollment period will be November 15, 2014 - February 15, 2015. We encourage everyone who is not already insured to seek further information about ACA.

Community Partners Q & A

Assistant Commissioner at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Former Asst. Commissioner for NYC Dept. of Mental Health & Hygiene’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control

 Monica Sweeney , MD. MPH
 Chau Trinh-Shervin DrPH
Dr. Torian Easterling, MD, MPH

Concentration Director for the NYU Masters in Global Public Health

 Francesca Gany, MD

Senior Research Scientist at the Texas Health Institute

Dennis Andrulis, PhD

Program Advisory Committee