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Special Project

Special Project
From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

NYC Care: UNLOCK Access to Health Care

Finalist in Government & Politics

Entered in Public Health, Integrated Campaign


In NYC, we believe everybody deserves access to health care regardless of immigration status and income. That's why we created NYC Care, a health care access program by NYC Health and Hospitals, the largest public health system in the US, that offers services at little or no cost to New Yorkers unable to afford or ineligible for health insurance. NYC Care is part of NYC's “Guaranteed Care” plan, the largest local municipality initiative in the nation to ensure health care for every person in our city regardless of immigration status and ability to pay. 

With NYC Care, members get a membership card that gives them access to a primary care doctor or nurse and 24/7customer service and low-cost medications. Members have access to primary and preventive care such as routine screening and examinations and specialty care such as cardiology, gastroenterology, vision care and prenatal and women's health care.  

Our multiplatform Integrated campaign has the goal of encouraging eligible New Yorkers to enroll in NYC Care guided by the following 3 narrative pillars: 

-With NYC Care, people who have long been denied access to health care can finally UNLOCK that access, no matter where they were born or how much money they have. 

-With NYC Care, people who have not had any or not reliable access to health care are empowered to be in control of their health by taking care of any issue early and avoid relying on the emergency room for care. 

-No one gets better simply because they have an insurance card. People get better because they have access to health care before they get sick and they are cared by a thoughtful and compassionate team of care providers. NYC Care guarantees that to every New Yorker.    

Strategy and Execution

By studying and assessing the demographics of hard-to-reach and disenfranchised New Yorkers who can potentially benefit from NYC Care—specifically, black and brown undocumented immigrants and very-low income people, we designed an inclusive and integrated citywide campaign composed of several multicultural hyperlocal mini campaigns in target neighborhoods of every borough with high incidence of New Yorkers uninsured and not eligible for insurance. 

The campaign's family of creative ads was inspired by the notion that many New Yorkers have long being denied the health care they need and deserve to live healthy and productive lives, as the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare.

Our multiplatform social good campaign was designed to run in phases, aligned with the launch of the program borough by borough from August 2019 till September 2020. The campaign first launched in the Bronx on August 1, 2019 and runs citywide since September 1, 2020. The campaign is comprised of multilingual marketing strategies and advertisements placed in diverse platforms: 

Additionally, the advertisement campaign is supported by additional elements of guerrilla marketing, media partnerships facility branding and an employee advocacy program:   


Callers to the NYC Care Infoline consistently report the advertising and marketing campaign and our facility branding and employee advocacy program as two of the top three reasons they learned about the program and its benefits and motivated to enroll. 

Member enrollment and service usage numbers have exceeded expectations: to date, NYC Care’s nearly 30,000 members have had over 85,000 provider visits since the beginning of the program, with over 17,000 telehealth visits and over 30,000 prescriptions filled during new extended pharmacy hours. Further, nearly 20,000 members have been screened for depression since the program began and have been connected to additional supports and services when appropriate. However, the sucess of our outreach efforst is crystalized in the stories of our members especially those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who describe it as life-changing and life saving: 

After becoming an NYC Care member in November 2019, a 44 year old immigrant was able to get primary and specialty care without fear due to his my immigration status. As a kidney transplant recipient, ongoing care for medications was critical for him. However, he was most fortunate to have been a member of the program when he contracted COVID-19 in April. Due to the care he had received earlier in the health system through NYC Care,  he was empowered to go to to one of our hospital when he was sick during the pandemic. He spent 21 days intubated and fully recovered to tell his story.

Another member had been experiencing panic attacks ever since he got tested positive for COVID-19. He had constant headaches but had been too afraid to access health care services since he doesn’t qualify for insurance.  During the pandemic, he lost his job and couldn’t afford private health care services. Then, he met a staff member from our organizations at an outreach event in and  this staff  connected to NYC Care and helped him navigate the process. He doesn’t speak English so having access to health care in his language was key. Now, he has already has an appointment to see a doctor to find what’s the cause of the headaches.   

Metrics (August 2019-March 2020) 





Video for NYC Care: UNLOCK Access to Health Care

Entrant Company / Organization Name

NYC Health + Hospitals, Area 23, Norte, Julia Rothman, NYC


Entry Credits