BHL was founded in 1998 through a collaborative effort involving the Bronx Borough President's Office, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Our Lady of Mercy Center, and St. Barnabas Hospital.
These member hospitals are the largest not-for-profit institutions in the Bronx with combined budgets that exceed $1.2 billion. The scope of their services gives BHL the extraordinary potential of contact with more than one million Bronx residents every year. Member hospitals sponsor hundreds of outreach events in Bronx neighborhoods. BHL takes advantage of these opportunities to promote its research, education and advocacy programs.
BHL's first project quickly became its signature project – an annual community needs assessment of residents' health situations as determined by a survey and a series of focus groups and community forums. These research methods have been used continuously and successfully to this day.
BHL's assessment process differs from traditional methods because it functions within a true community framework. There are focus groups, forums and town hall meetings, some in hospital settings. Hospital volunteers, community members and political leaders are involved in the planning and execution processes. The assessment findings and results lead to the revision and improvement of existing health programs.
During 17 years of continuous service in the Bronx, BHL has engaged thousands of residents, healthcare providers, schools, researchers, community-based organizations, government agencies and policymakers in pursuing and promoting better health outcomes for residents of the Bronx.
Since 2001, BHL has received a steady stream of grants from the City Council's Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative and the New York State's Comprehensive Perinatal and Prenatal Services Network. BHL uses these grants to coordinate networks of health and human service providers in the Bronx who engage in activities that promote maternal and infant health.
Since 2003 and in collaboration with the Bronx Borough President's Office, BHL has organized another annual signature event, Community Health Education Day. This well-attended, day-long health fair is filled with scores of providers offering health information, promotional materials, and access to services to scores of residents.