The Healthcare Association of New York State recently recognized Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) with the 2022 Community Health Improvement Award for its outstanding work with the “Lead-Free & Healthy Homes Mohawk Valley Coalition.”

“The consequences of lead exposure to pregnant persons, infants and children can last a lifetime,” said Bea Grause, RN, JD, president, HANYS. “This program is a perfect example of what can be achieved when community partners come together to improve social determinants of health.”


Launched in 2016 with funding from The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, the Lead-Free & Healthy Homes Mohawk Valley Coalition, housed and supported by the Home Ownership Center with the engagement of numerous community partners, works to reduce lead poisoning and support access to healthy housing. At the time of the coalition’s inception, Oneida County had the highest rate of children with EBLLs in New York state, with 3.14% of children younger than age 6 having an EBLL – six times the state’s average of 0.5%; Herkimer County, at 1%, was double the state’s average. ZIP codes within Utica had EBLL rates as high as 36.65% and 28.34%.


MVHS and its partners promote lead hazard reduction services, educate target neighborhoods on the dangers of lead-based paint and environmental health hazards and engage the community in creating, accessing and maintaining healthier, lead safe and energy efficient housing. The initiative addresses the “Promote healthy home and school environments” goal of the Prevention Agenda, New York’s plan to improve the health and well-being of all New Yorkers and to promote health equity in all populations who experience disparities

The coalition has had great success improving health outcomes and advancing health equity; Oneida County’s EBLL incidence rate has lowered from 26.7 per 1,000 tested children ages <72 months in 2014-2016 to 18.0 for 2017-2019.


The Lead-Free & Healthy Homes Mohawk Valley Coalition consists of more than 100 individuals from 40 organizations, including representatives from health, government, legal, insurance, education, childcare, housing, construction and support services constituencies. HANYS congratulates all of these individuals on the success of their collaborative approach to address the needs of their community.


The Community Health Improvement Award, established by HANYS in 1997, recognizes outstanding initiatives designed to improve the health and well-being of communities. The award is presented to facilities and programs that target specific community health needs while emphasizing the importance of health equity, leadership, collaboration with diverse community partners and achieving quantifiable results.


Photo caption: Members of the Lead-Free & Healthy Homes Mohawk Valley Coalition receive Community Health Improvement Award from HANYS.

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