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Bringing Blood Pressure Readings to Public Spaces in Queens

Master's in Public Administration

Bringing Blood Pressure Readings to Public Spaces in Queens

MPA Program at CCNY

MPA students proposed blood pressure checkpoints in public spaces in Queens

Dana Cohen, Ellen Ulerio, and Allison Wen created an innovative pilot program that offers blood pressure readings in public spaces in Queens.

The project, which won the MPA Program's annual team competition, aims to address the high rate of heart disease and lack of access to health care in Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Corona.

Through on-the-ground interviews and NYC open data research, the team investigated barriers to health access that distance these majority-immigrant neighborhoods from basic preventive services. These barriers include language, financial hardship, time constraints due to overwork, cultural norms, and confusing health care institutions.

To work around these barriers, the team set up blood pressure checkpoints in hair salons, plazas, and supermarkets. The checkpoints were staffed by medical students fluent in the most common local languages.

"This project tests how well you can communicate complex problems like the one we’re trying to solve in Elmhurst-Corona," said Dana Cohen. "We had to really distill it down and make it simple so that we could understand it ourselves and communicate it to our various audiences."

Cohen, Ulerio, and Wen competed against five other teams of MPA students before a panel of faculty judges charged with awarding a hypothetical $500,000 city grant.

The project was part of the MPA program's new, community-based approach to final team projects. Each group focused on proposing innovative solutions to a public health issue rather than working with one organization.