The city health department has found a leader for its Center for Health Equity, one of the premier initiatives begun under new health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. Dr. Aletha Maybank will begin her tenure as Associate Commissioner of the Center for Health Equity on Sept. 29. The Center for Health Equity was announced earlier this year and funded with $3.2 million. It is a “cornerstone” of the department’s efforts to address disparities, according to the mayor’s management report. The idea is to tackle health problems that disproportionately impact lower income areas by providing greater access to services in those neighborhoods. It’s an initiative that is central to the de Blasio administration’s goal of reducing disparities between rich and poor in New York City, the two New Yorks theme that vaulted Bill de Blasio to the mayor’s office.
Dr. Maybank has served the Department as Assistant Commissioner of the Brooklyn District Public Health Office since 2009. In this capacity, Dr. Maybank oversees and executes the Department’s mission to reduce health inequalities and promote health equity in Central Brooklyn. Dr. Maybank oversaw the planning and implementation of improvements to the built environment through safety enhancements and new bike lanes to promote active transportation, spearheaded the doula initiative for new mothers, expanded access to Health Bucks program, promoted breastfeeding through text4baby, championed HIV testing initiative Brooklyn Knows and collaborated on school wellness projects.
Prior to this, Dr. Maybank successfully launched the Office of Minority Health as its Founding Director in the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in New York where she focused on reducing health disparities in racial and ethnic minorities utilizing non-traditional, culturally acceptable methods to conduct community outreach and program development. She is the Vice President of the Empire State Medical Society and founding board member of the Artemis Medical Society (an international mentoring, networking, and advocacy organization of over 3,000 women of color). Dr. Maybank holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University, a MD from Temple University School of Medicine, and a MPH from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Through the work of the three District Public Health Offices, the newly-created Center for Health Equity is charged with reducing the differences in health outcomes across the neighborhoods of New York City that can be traced to unequal economic, environmental, and social conditions. As Associate Commissioner, Dr. Maybank will also be responsible for overseeing the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Department’s placed based initiatives. Additionally, Dr. Maybank will be working with senior leadership to integrate the Department’s commitment to health equity approaches across divisions and programs.
Please join the leadership of ESMA in congratulating Dr. Aletha Maybank for her new position.