Thursday, March 12, 2020

Fresh Food, Fresh Attitude! Increasing Access to Healthy Grab-and-Go Items at Bronx Bodegas


William is the owner of Makey Deli, located at 2704 Third Avenue in the Bronx.

This post was written by Kelly Moltzen, Program Manager for Bronx Health REACH’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities.

March 9 to 15 is World Salt Awareness Week. On average, Americans eat more than 3,400 mg. of sodium daily – more than double the American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit of 1,500 mg. 77% of the sodium that Americans consume comes from processed foods and food served in restaurants.

In the Bronx, items that people often buy at bodegas are processed foods high in sodium, including chips, deli meats, and cheese. Bronx Health REACH, Montfiore Medical Center and City Harvest are part of the Bronx Bodega Partners Workgroup, offering healthy food retail initiatives to encourage stores to stock healthier items, such as low-sodium deli meats and healthy snack alternatives. The Workgroup launched the Don’t Stress, Eat Fresh healthy bodega marketing campaign to increase awareness of these healthier options throughout the Bronx community.

Bronx Health REACH, with support from the American Heart Association’s NYC Community Impact Grant, is collaborating with the Bronx healthy food advocate, Shen’naque Sean Butler and his “FRESCH” campaign to expand the number of bodegas selling healthy grab-and-go items. To date, Sean has organized taste tests at bodegas, schools, and in the community, offering hummus, three-bean salad, a vegan salad, and pico de gallo. Future taste tests include cut vegetables with dip, fruit cups, and overnight oats. We hope the combination of taste tests and increased access to these healthy items for sale in the community, coupled with the Don’t Stress, Eat Fresh healthy bodega marketing campaign will offer Bronx residents new items they will get excited about and support their health!

Montefiore Medical Center is collaborating with the Jerome Gun Hill Business Improvement District (BID)  to support bodega owners selling healthy foods such as The Bronx Salad and other healthy grab-and-go items. By partnering with NYC Small Business Services, the Jerome Gun Hill BID offers bodegas compliance consultations, financial education, trainings, advertising and promotional support, and other business support resources.

City Harvest has established a relationship with Fairway to get healthy grab-and-go items sold in supermarkets and corner stores in the Bronx. After an initial pilot phase, the following seven Bronx stores are participating in the grab-and-go program:

1. Borinquen Supermarket, 436 Brook Avenue
2. Met Food Supermarket, 649 Jackson Avenue
3. Real Supermarket, 795 Prospect Avenue
4. Makey Deli, 2704 Third Avenue
5. D & D Deli, 100 West 168th Street
6. Moe’s Quick Deli, 469 Brook Avenue
7. Wanda’s Deli, 104 Elliot Place

Consuming less sodium and more fruits and vegetables – including the items promoted through the grab-and-go program – are part of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet plan, and is an important step in reducing the risk of diet-related diseases such as hypertension and stroke.

For more information, contact Kelly Moltzen via email or call (212) 633-0800 x 1328.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Men’s Health Workshop Debuts at the Institute for Family Health Stevenson Family Health Center

Eight men attended the Men’s Health Workshop at the Institute for Family Health’s Stevenson Family Health Center. Joseph Ellis, author of this article, is fourth from the left.

This post was written by Joseph Ellis, a Community Health Worker at Bronx Health REACH.

As a Community Health Worker for Bronx Health REACH and the Men’s Department Coordinator for my church, Bronx Deliverance Center of Faith, I have been working and communicating with men in the community and the churches for several years. Our conversations have been on various subjects such as spiritual growth, finances, community involvement, and health.

I’ve noticed that when we begin to talk about our health, we come up with many reasons why we are not giving our health top priority in our life. For example, we work, we are tired when we get home, we have no desire, we are not interested in exercising because it takes too much time, we eat whatever our partner cooks, or we do not have time to go to the Doctor.

Normally men have a difficult time discussing issues concerning our health. Our perception of ourselves is often: whatever we face, we can handle. Irrespective of the challenge, men believe they are indestructible, and can address any issue on their own, even if it’s a health one. But this is not always the case.

Many of the men I have spoken with mentioned having struggles with health concerns like diabetes, being overweight and losing the weight, being stressed about work and providing for their families. As a Community Health Worker, I wanted to do something to address these concerns. If I could get them all together in a workshop and have their health concerns addressed by a doctor, maybe they would be more receptive to opening up about the challenges they have as men regarding being healthy.

With the help of Ms. Tabasa Ozawa, one of the interns at Bronx Health REACH, we created a Men’s Health survey that we distributed to men to get a broader idea of the other health topics they are concerned about. Using this survey, I was able to outreach to 160 men from different ethnicities and ages in the community, churches, and masjids. It took a couple of months to gather all this important information together.

From the information gathered, I organized a Men’s Health Workshop at the Institute for Family Health’s Stevenson Family Health Center in the Bronx. Dr. Eric Gayle, the NYC Regional Medical director for the Institute for Family Health, led this first Men’s Health Workshop on Saturday, January 18, 2020.



Dr. Eric Gayle led the workshop and answered questions about Men’s health.

Several health topics were chosen that we felt would encourage a dialogue among the men.
Those topics were:

a. Age Dependent Preventive Health
b. Health
c. Wellness
d. Interacting with your Primary Provider
e. Cancer Screenings


The interaction between the men and Dr. Gayle was dynamic. He talked to them and not at them. As they warmed up to him, the questions just kept coming. This workshop was designed to get the men to open up about their health concerns, and they did. Scheduled for two hours, the workshop easily went another half an hour.

Questions were addressed about diabetes, family history, discussing your health concerns with your doctor; (the doctors are here to help you but need you to communicate to them what is bothering you), sexual health, prostate growth and cancer, what are the options to combat these concerns and more.

The workshop hit home for the men and they wanted to know when we would be holding the next one. When the workshop ended, a couple of the men hugged Dr. Gayle and prayed for him. Wow! What a positive response to a dynamic workshop.

Attendees were encouraged to be proactive in managing their health.

As a Community Health Worker, I am encouraged that having these Men’s Health Workshops will be a tremendous help in assisting the men in our communities to take charge of their health and become more proactive. With the help of Dr. Gayle and other providers at the Institute for Family Health, we will continue to organize more workshops to provide a forum where men can have an open discussion about their health.


If you would like more information about the Men’s Health Workshop, contact Joseph Ellis at (212) 633-0800, ext. 1341.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Bronx Health REACH Meets with Senator Alessandra Biaggi



Left to right: Maxine Golub from the Institute for Family Health; New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi; Kelly Moltzen and Moria Byrne-Zaaloff from Bronx Health REACH; Jacqueline Chiofalo from the Institute for Family Health.

On December 12th, Bronx Health REACH's Kelly Moltzen and Moria Byrne-Zaaloff from our Creating Healthy Schools and Communities program, along with Maxine Golub and Jacqueline Chiofalo from the Institute for Family Health met and spoke with State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. Kelly and Moria discussed the WELL Campaign (Wellness, Equity & Learning Legislation) which asks for a New York State model school wellness policy, and funding to go to the New York State Education Department for school districts to develop and implement wellness policies based on the model state wellness policy.

As a supporter of the WELL Campaign, she was surprised to learn that even though other states have school wellness statutes in place, New York does not. Senator Biaggi is also a sponsor of the New York State Health Act [A.5248, S.3577], and was pleased to know that Institute for Family Health and Bronx Health REACH staff testified at hearings in the Bronx and in Kingston, NY, in support of the Act.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

CMSP 327 Students Create Healthy Eating Guide




On October 24th, CMSP 327, a partner school in Bronx Health REACH's Creating Healthy Schools and Communities program held their official release of 'Snack Attack, How Can Students Make Healthy Snack Choices in School?' The 16-page booklet was created by CMSP 327 students with guidance from the Center for Urban Pedagogy and Bronx Health REACH. The students presented on their experiences creating the booklet during an event held at the BronxNet.

In 2018, Bronx Health REACH created a program for teachers to learn about countermarketing and how to implement a curriculum on the topic modeled on the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute’s Youth Food Educators program. In Spring 2019, Bronx school partners had the opportunity to participate in a countermarketing competition based on the campaigns they created using the curriculum. As the winner of the competition, CMSP 327 students attended a course led by the Center for Urban Pedagogy and Bronx Health REACH. The final project that resulted from the students’ work was the booklet.

At the event, students shared their thoughts on creating the booklet. "They learned precisely what we hoped they would learn about the foods sold in schools and their communities. Unhealthy food marketing is targeting Black & Latino youth in low-income communities," said Kelly Moltzen, Program Manager for  Creating Healthy Schools and Communities at Bronx Health REACH. "They understand the challenges their community faces and seem motivated to keep spreading the word and advocating for change."

Click here to read Snack Attack, How Can Students Make Healthy Snack Choices in School?'

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