Health Disparities

African American Health Coalition

The coalition seeks to eliminate health disparities among communities of color. They engage community leaders, health professionals and Common Ground Health staff to help identify unmet needs, increase community knowledge and improve the collection of data on patients' race, ethnicity and preferred language.

The coalition focuses on non-medical interventions and on mobilizing the community in health promotion, health education and the practice of positive health behaviors. They advocate with health systems through public policy to improve the community health status of African Americans.

The African American Health Coalition meets monthly at Common Ground Health and meetings are free and open to the public. Times and dates are listed in the online calendar at the bottom of the page.

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Latino Health Coalition

To eliminate health disparities among Latinos in our community, this coalition works with community leaders on a range of issues, including youth risk behaviors, health literacy, economic stress, mental health and cultural competency.

Using non-medical interventions, the coalition seeks to improve the scope, quality and availability of health services. It also looks for opportunities to support healthy behaviors and health education in the Latino community. The coalition advocates for policies and practices through local government and health care systems that will improve Latino health status.

The Latino Health Coalition monthly at Common Ground Health and meetings are free and open to the public. Times and dates are listed in the online calendar at the bottom of the page.

Members Opens in a new window

Partnership for Access to Health Care (PATH)

The partnership works to increase health insurance coverage and expand access to care by promoting universal coverage, monitoring state policy and tracking the impact of the lack of insurance in the region. Working with Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, MVP Health Care, Monroe County, the Rochester Primary Care Network and other organizations, the partnership identifies barriers to insurance coverage and develops strategies to reduce these barriers.

The partnership developed recommendations for the Medicaid Matters policy brief on insurance expansion and for the state's health insurance exchange. It is currently working with New York State designated organizations assisting with enrollment in the state's health insurance exchange.

Members Opens in a new window

To find out more about any of the coalitions or attend a meeting, send an e-mail to

"What's Goin' On?"

Asking - and answering - Marvin Gaye's famous question, this report identifies the pressing health issues confronting the local African American community, specifically exploring the link between cultural environment and behavior in health care. It is hoped this report spurs broad discussion within the African American community, as well as making a collective call for community action.

What's Goin' On cover

This eight-page brochure highlights the organization's research on health outcomes for our region's African Americans in a user-friendly format.

What’s Goin’ On 2014 Executive Summary

What’s Goin’ On 2014 Full Report

"Nuestra Salud"

“Nuestra Salud” (Our Health) identified the need to expand access to care by reducing the uninsured Latino population and by empowering Latinos to be better health care consumers.

Nuestra Salud cover

This eight-page brochure highlights the organization's research on health outcomes for our region's Latino community in a user-friendly format.

Nuestra Salud 2014 Executive Summary

Nuestra Salud 2014 Full Report


Issues - Health Disparities - Articles Featured

Issues - Health Disparities - Articles

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    College students create buzz around quitting vaping

    February 28, 2020

    During a one-day hackathon-style event at St. John Fisher College, students at six area colleges and universities heard from a local social media star how to create hit dance videos that may move their peers to quit vaping.

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    Study finds region’s No. 1 health concern is poverty

    November 18, 2019

    Across the region’s urban, rural and suburban communities, the top health concern is poverty. It drives health inequities that undermine wellness and cut lives short more than any other single cause of illness, according to an extensive new report by Common Ground Health, the health research and planning organization for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region.

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    Common Ground Health to release major health report

    November 15, 2019

    Common Ground is set to release an extensive community health report. Overloaded: The Heavy Toll of Poverty on Our Region’s Health connects the dots between life lived on the financial edge and appalling health inequities – unfair and avoidable sickness and death linked to income, race and other factors.

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    Community celebrates opening of the play trail

    October 30, 2019

    Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren was joined by youth and community members Oct. 24 to cut a ribbon on the Play Walk, a new, playful sidewalk trail along Chestnut and Court Streets between the Strong Museum and the Central Library. 

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    Elmira study connects housing to poor health

    July 29, 2019

    Some older housing in Elmira presents a high risk of exposure to lead, mold and other environmental toxins linked to asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). That’s according to a new study of health and housing in the city's poorer neighborhoods.

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    Program teaches patients how to ask their doctor questions

    July 25, 2019

    Faced with a mysterious illness and medical lingo she didn’t understand, Debbie Wise stopped showing up for appointments and quit taking her medicine. Then the hair stylist learned to bring her questions to her doctors through a new health literacy course.

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    Making walking and biking the easy choice

    June 13, 2019

    Could crosswalks, protected bike lanes and other traffic safety features combat chronic illness, control weight and improve mood?

    Research shows that telling people to exercise doesn't work, but creating environments that support walking and biking does.

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    Gates Medical's high blood pressure success lies in ...

    April 30, 2019

    Common Ground's high blood pressure registry shows that Gates Medical Associates has achieved unusually good control rates for groups that are at high risk for poor hypertension outcomes. Find out what makes the University of Rochester practice so effective.

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    A decade of high blood pressure improvement

    February 26, 2019

    For the past decade, the High Blood Pressure Collaborative has focused on reducing strokes, heart attacks and other catastrophic health outcomes linked to hypertension. To celebrate the region’s steady progress and to lay the ground work for the next chapter in addressing chronic illness, the Collaborative has published a 10-year retrospective.

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    Health center achieves patient-centered milestone

    January 28, 2019

    Over the past three years, His Branches in Rochester reduced wait times for patients, improved patient outcomes and created a work environment that was less stressful. Together these changes helped the safety net practice renew its Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) certification through the New York PCMH program, which began in 2018.

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    Initiative asks what prevents residents from accessing vegetables and fruits

    January 18, 2019

    Together with partners at S2ay Rural Health Network, Foodlink and a steering committee of local experts, Common Ground Health is seeking to learn more about the access that different communities have to fruits and vegetables, and how these varying levels of access are connected to rates of diet-related illnesses.

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    Doctor's orders? More like, patient's preferences

    December 18, 2018

    Motivational interviewing puts patients in the driver's seat on behavior change. Common Ground has helped coach clinicians on using motivational interviewing as part of practice transformation.

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    Chartbook documents the heavy toll of poverty on health

    October 31, 2018

    Common Ground Health’s newly updated Health Equity Chartbook uses data analysis from multiple sources and more than 200 data graphs and maps to understand inequities—and to inform efforts to eliminate them.

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    Neighborhood intersection gets an extreme makeover

    September 11, 2018

    Parsells Avenue and Greeley Street were transformed Sept. 8 as part of the Complete Streets Makeover project, a creative way to test street enhancements that could make neighborhoods roads more welcoming for non-vehicular traffic. 

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    Faith communities provide powerful path to health

    June 29, 2018

    An innovative initiative in a dozen African American churches has helped reduce dangerously high blood pressure rates among participants by more than 60 percent. Discover how spiritual support for healthy living is making a difference.

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    Eight reasons to stay focused on high blood pressure

    June 27, 2018

    The latest high blood pressure registry along with other local data show that high blood pressure and heart disease are leading drivers of premature mortality in our nine county Finger Lakes region, particularly for African Americans. View all eight data slides showing why we should stay focused on this chronic illness.

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    Bike share could improve public health, study finds

    June 19, 2018

    Rochester's bike share program holds tremendous potential for supporting more active, healthier lives for residents, shows a new Health Impact Assessment (HIA) from Common Ground Health and the Genesee Transportation Council.

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    Share your story to improve the region's health

    June 11, 2018

    Common Ground Health, working in partnership with the public health directors in each of our nine Finger Lakes counties, is conducting an important community health survey. Participation is needed from as many residents as possible.

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    Video: 'It's easy to open up a conversation'

    May 01, 2018

    Devon Reynolds and fellow barbers and stylists build on their close relationships with clients to address hypertension in African American neighborhoods, where our registry shows residents struggle most with high blood pressure.

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    Wash, rinse, cut . . . and blood pressure check

    March 28, 2018

    An experience in Debbie Wise's salon motivated her to learn how to monitor blood pressure. She is one of nine salon and barber shop owners who are community health educators in Rochester.

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    Poverty blocks access to health care in Rochester

    October 04, 2017

    Lack of health insurance is often deemed the #1 challenge that low-income residents face in accessing medical treatment. But a white paper released by Common Ground Health found that for Rochester’s most vulnerable populations, other barriers are equally daunting.

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    How does your health affect your hair?

    September 06, 2017

    The second Hair and Health Symposium provides an opportunity to learn about how your health can affect your hair and the important role that barbers and stylist play promoting health. The Sept. 18, 2017 event includes a hair show celebrating Rochester’s latest braidings, weavings, buzz cuts and natural styles.

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    Conference focuses on health as a spiritual matter

    September 06, 2017

    The Health is a Spiritual Matter Conference brings together dynamic speakers and a panel of experts for a day of workshops and worship on Oct. 7, 2017. The conference includes separate workshops for men, women and parents and provides a special open discussion for young adults called #SpirituallyFit.

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    Symposium explores food scarcity amidst agricultural abundance

    April 11, 2017

    The Finger Lakes region is rich in fruit and vegetable farms. Yet in an area of agricultural abundance, 22 percent of the population goes without eating healthy, fresh food. That malnourishment has a profound impact on health outcomes.

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    Community celebrates 10th anniversary of Rochester lead law

    September 20, 2016

    Representatives from the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning, the City of Rochester, the Monroe County Department of Public Health, community groups, staff members of the Environmental Protection Agency, and elected officials gathered Sept. 19 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Rochester lead law.

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    Community members star in health posters

    August 19, 2016

    More than 30 health champions are sharing their medication reminders in full-color posters made exclusively for their congregations or workplaces. The customized posters are part of a public health campaign to encourage community members to develop strategies for taking medication.

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    Conference helps churches make health ministries more effective

    June 14, 2016

    Building on the success of their 2015 men’s health conference, this year’s Interdenominational Health Ministry Conference focused on health as a spiritual matter and the connection among mind, body and spirit. The conference is part of IHMC’s ongoing work to encourage local health ministries and was sponsored in part by a grant from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation and was supported by Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency.

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    Aging expert calls for 'all hands on deck' to meet seniors' care needs

    April 19, 2016

    Recognizing that there will be too few geriatricians to meet the needs of our growing senior population, the medical community needs to train and make use of the talents all those who come into contact with seniors, including family caregivers and non-medical professionals, said renowned geriatrics expert Jennie Chin Hansen.

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    National expert on health disparities to speak May 6

    March 31, 2016

    Mary A. Pittman, chief executive officer and president of the Public Health Institute in Oakland, California., will explore the complex causes of health disparities and discuss solution to these challenge May 6 at RIT.

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    Racial and ethnic diversity in Greater Rochester

    March 14, 2016

    This interactive map provides a graphic visualization of our region's racial and ethnic residential patterns. Dots represent the majority racial and ethnic makeup by Census tract and background colors show the degree of diversity for areas.

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    Patient support leads to 'phenomenal' results

    October 05, 2015

    So much of medicine in the last century has been focused on technological miracles. But as this video reveals, treating many of today’s chronic illnesses calls for old fashioned human caring and professional support.

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    Neighborhoods and health linked, shows data

    March 06, 2015

    Early death is more common among those who live in ZIP codes in Rochester with a lower socioeconomic status, presenters from the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency told members of the medical community during Public Health Grand Rounds March 6 at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

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    Lead coalition honored by EPA

    July 21, 2010

    The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning has been selected as a winner of the EPA’s Environmental Justice Achievement Award for its leadership in community-based efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning.