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The Harlem Health Promotion Center serves as a collaboration of community, academic and public health stakeholders that uses research, education, and service delivery to improve the health and well-being of the Harlem community.
Harlem Health Promotion Center


HHPC CAB Member, Muriel M. Petioni, MD, Dies after a life of service to Harlem

Our public health community lost a stalwart champion recently. Dr. Muriel Petioni passed away on December 6 at the age of 97. Dr. Petioni, known as the "mother of medicine in Harlem," had a long and distinguished career in private practice and school health. Although diminutive in size, her stature as an advocate was immense.

She created the Friends of Harlem Hospital that helped raise substantial funds for an important community resource, particularly with respect to senior services. Dr. Petioni served on the boards of many community organizations including: Mentoring in Medicine, Friends of Harlem Hospital, The Harlem Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, the Columbia School of Social Work, the American Cancer Society, the Harlem Council of Elders, and the Handmaids of Mary.

Within the Mailman School of Public Health, Dr. "P" had been a core member of the Harlem Health Promotion Center's Community Advisory Board (CAB) since 1991 and worked diligently on its Dissemination Committee. Using her extensive community connections, she was instrumental in helping HHPC implement a variety of community health promotion initiatives. We all marveled at her seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm, and have been blessed to learn from and work with her over the years.

Dr. Petioni was a pioneer in the realm of disease prevention, making her association with HHPC-one of a national network of 37 Prevention Research Centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that much more relevant. She began preaching against the toll of sugar and junk food more than fifty years ago when she first hung her shingle on 114 West 131st Street at the family home where she grew up. Per her obituary in the New York Times, "Her dietary warning - "you're digging your grave with your fork" - became a trademark, as did the motherly finger-point that usually accompanied it." She tirelessly served the Harlem community as a family physician who provided a holistic approach to healthcare until her retirement in the late 1990s. As her family states, "She helped teach people how to care about themselves, about each other, and their community."

Dr. Petioni was the daughter of Dr. Charles Augustin Petioni, one of Harlem's first black physicians and Marcus Garvey's personal physician. Both father and daughter graduated from Howard University Medical School, Muriel in 1937. At the time of her passing she was the only female and last known survivor from her class. In addition to maintaining a private practice, she also worked for thirty years as a school physician for the city's health department and spent much of her time founding and leading community organizations to promote health care, housing development and education in Harlem. She often shared her secret to a long and fruitful life, "Go with the flow, and ride with the tide."

To view Dr. Petioni's "History Makers" profile click here:

Condolence notes may be sent to:
Family of Dr. Muriel Petioni
100 La Salle Street #5-H
New York NY 10027

Dr. Alwyn T. Cohall Awarded Rosenfield Award at PHANYC Award Ceremony

November 7, 2011

Harlem Health Promotion Center Director, Alwyn T. Cohall, MD, was recently awarded the Rosenfield award at the 75th annual Public Health Association of New York City (PHANYC) award ceremony at the Interchurch Center of New York on Riverside Drive in Manhattan on November 7, 2011.

This award was presented in recognition of Dr. Cohall's contributions to public health through social justice. As the Director of Harlem Health Promotion Center (HHPC), Dr. Cohall oversees HHPC's core research project, Project Share (Support for Hypertension Awareness, Reduction and Education), a randomized control research project aimed at finding the most effective way to reduce high blood pressure in Northern Manhattan. This project will assist 450 residents and their families. HHPC is one of 37 Prevention Research Centers (PRC) in a national network overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HHPC also provides administrative and evaluative support for Project STAY (Services to Assist Youth) a program that serves high-risk and HIV+ youth throughout NYC.

HHPC CAB Member Debra Jackson, awarded NCC Community Partnership Award

October 19, 2011

The Harlem Health Promotion Center's (HHPC) Community Advisory Board (CAB) member Debra Jackson was recently awarded the National Community Partnership Engagement Award at the National Community Committee (NCC) Annual Meeting in Rochester, New York on October 19, 2011.

Ms. Jackson was chosen for this award because of her active involvement in and regular attendance at NCC meetings. The NCC is affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and brings together community members and researchers to provide advice on research and recommendations for the CDC Prevention Research Center (PRC) network, of which HHPC is one of 37 centers serving underserved communities throughout the US. As an HHPC CAB member, Ms. Jackson serves on both its Membership and Dissemination Committees.

HHPC Community Advisory Board member, Tracey Tann Parker, is featured in this video sharing her experiences as a NYC nurse during 9/11. Click on the following links for articles to read more about Ms. Parker and her personal and professional interest in health:

Changes she made to get healthy, Part I

Changes she made to get healthy, Part II

Feeling good after healthy lifestyle changes

How to get healthy and drop your dress/pants size is a health information website where Harlem residents, businesses and organizations can find local information about getting and staying healthy. It is the result of years of collaboration between the HHPC, community members, and leaders.

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Harlem Health Promotion Center
Harlem Health Promotion Center
Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University
215 West 125th Street, Ground Floor
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 646-284-9777
Fax: 646-284-9729

Harlem Health Promotion Center
The Harlem Health Promotion Center is a member of the Prevention Research Centers Program. This site is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cooperative agreement number: 5-U48 DP001916. The findings and conclusions on this site are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the CDC.