CREST Institute Hosts Officials from NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

On April 13, 2023, at the City College of New York, CUNY CREST Institute hosted Julian L. Watkins-Acting Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Health Equity Capacity Building at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), Porsha Hall-Senior Director, Policy and Partnershipsof the Bureau of Health Equity Capacity Building at the NYC DOHMH, Stephanie Saintilien– Special Assistant/City Research Scientist I of the Bureau of Health Equity Capacity Building at the NYC DOHMH, and Nicole Bartlett– Regional Coordinator, NOAA’s North Atlantic Regional Collaboration Team (NART), North East Fisheries Science Center.  Other CREST members who attended the meeting were Dr. Tarendra Lakhankar (Research Scientist), Carolina Perez (NOAA CESSRST II funded graduate student) and Srishti Tyagi (CREST Communication and Outreach Manager).

L to R: Steohanie Saintilien, Porsha Hall, Shakila Merchant (CUNY), Julan Watkins and Nicole Bartlett

The purpose of the meeting was to explore the possibility of CUNY CREST collaborating with the City and local communities in helping New York Department of Health establish a Climate Health Equity Unit at a Local NYC Department of Health site.

The meeting was led by Dr. Shakila Merchant, Deputy Director of the CUNY CREST Institute. She provided the attendees an overview of the CREST institute and emphasized on the New York Urban Hydro-meteorological Testbed (NY-uHMT) project that uses autonomous weather stations to collect comprehensive, real-time data on meteorological and hydrological conditions in New York City regions.

Officials from the NYC DOHMH provided an overview of the work they’ve been doing towards community building, systems change, COVID-19 recovery, and health equity. The meeting concluded with an action item to meet during summer with future steps on collaborating with the DoH team its supporting their vision of creating a health unit near Harlem, NY. Toward the end of the meeting, Dr. Watkins and team also had a chance to meet with a group of incoming CCNY freshmen, who coincidentally happened to be all planning to purse public health students. the group delightfully engaged in the conversation with a group of next-generation of public health professionals!!

Dr. Watkins and team interacting with incoming CCNY freshmen interested in Public Health studies