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NYU Langone Brooklyn receives $166M gift from Bezos family for community health

NYU Langone Health has received a $166 million donation from Mike and Jackie Bezos to improve health outcomes and disparities in Brooklyn, the health system announced Monday.

The gift followed a 2017 donation of $25 million from the Bezos Family Foundation, established in 2000 by the parents of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

"Today, in the midst of a pandemic that has accentuated the need for more comprehensive health supports, our family wishes to deepen our personal commitment to the community and to NYU Langone Health's efforts in Brooklyn," said Mike Bezos.

NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, Family Health Centers at NYU Langone—a network of federally qualified health centers—and the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine will work together on initiatives to be empowered by the gift.

The first year will be spent planning, with subcommittees formed to outline where the key health disparities are, who should be brought to the table and how to get the solutions out to partners and patients, said Dr. Bret Rudy, senior vice president and chief of hospital operations at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn.

"One of the biggest challenges when addressing the health of a community is, everything is important," Rudy said. "But we will need to prioritize, based on science and data that tell us where the biggest disparities are."

Community partners will be brought on board to address social determinants of health, including housing, nutrition and tobacco and alcohol use, he said.

A big component of the proceeds will be used to implement technology. The plan is to figure out an IT solution that allows for integrated connectivity so a patient's journey through not just the NYU network but also that of partner organizations is visible to all stakeholders, he added.

A final component will be used to figure out how to replicate the efforts born out of the funds, Rudy said. The health system and medical school are tasked with creating a curriculum for training doctors to take care of diverse populations and incorporating social determinants of health into care plans. The idea is to produce knowledge that can train future generations of doctors beyond this donation and to bring the solutions to other communities and health systems in the future.

"We want to make sure the benefits of this gift don't just stay local," he noted.

NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, formerly Lutheran Medical Center, is a 450-bed hospital. It joined the network in 2015. The health system has six acute care hospitals and over 360 ambulatory locations throughout the New York area. —Shuan Sim


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