Queens, New York is a diverse urban environment and home to many recent immigrants and low-income populations, which are known to have lower access to healthcare and are thus at higher risk for a wide range of negative health outcomes. Queens residents face serious cancer disparities, with late-stage cancer detection rates for breast, colorectal and prostate cancers far surpassing national averages. Developed to address such disparities, Queens Library HealthLink (HealthLink) is a four-way partnership that seeks to increase access to cancer screening, care and education in medically underserved neighborhoods in Queens. Through 20 of the 62 Queens Public Libraries, HealthLink organizes community members into Cancer Action Councils that develop and tailor interventions suited to community needs, assets and priorities, as well as perform evaluation of their work. This article describes the partnership, its program outcomes and case examples of successful initiatives in order to present HealthLink’s relevance to other urban public libraries as a model for reaching broad, underserved audiences with health information and services.
Michel, T. A., Sabino, E., Stevenson, A. J., Weiss, E., Carpenter, A., & Rapkin, B. (2011). Queens Library HealthLink: Fighting Health Disparities through Community Engagement. Urban Library Journal, 17 (1). Retrieved from http://academicworks.cuny.edu/ulj/vol17/iss1/3