And we’re taking several other steps to make sure our teams and the members we serve are able to safely exercise their right to vote this election.

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We’re grateful for policy recommendations from electionday.org and resources from VotER, and for all the people and organizations working to make sure all Americans are able to safely vote this November.

At Cityblock, we’re doing our part to make sure our teams and the members we serve have the resources they need to vote on or before Election Day. Here’s a quick overview of the steps we’re taking.

We made November 3, 2020 a paid company holiday.


Toyin Ajayi and Iyah Romm

Where we are today

When we wrote about the crisis within the crisis back in April, we were in the first chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, our worst fears about the disproportionate toll that would be borne by Black and Brown communities, the fissures and disparities that COVID-19 would lay bare, have been realized.

Meeting the needs of our Cityblock members and our teams during this incredibly challenging time in our country’s history has required us to grow as leaders, to shift and change our ways of working as an organization, and to remain ever focused on meeting our members where they are. As a transformative, value-based healthcare provider focused on marginalized populations with complex needs, we’ve been focused around the clock on how we deploy primary care, behavioral health, and social services to our members, whenever and wherever they need them. …


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How our company value to “Be All In” drives the type of behavioral and social services we deliver during COVID-19 and beyond.

Ari Rosner, Head of Social Care
Juliana Ekong, Associate Chief Health Officer

In a post from our co-founders Iyah and Toyin on April 16th, we discussed what the COVID-19 crisis had meant so far for Cityblock and our members.

This post is part of a series about our response to COVID-19 and how our work has been guided by our company values: Put Members First, Be All In, Bring Your Whole Self, Aim for Understanding, and Lean into Discomfort.

Today, we explore how our value of Be All In has guided us as we develop additional member initiatives in response to COVID-19.


A message to the Cityblock community from our CEO, Iyah Romm.

The murders of George Floyd, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, Laquan McDonald, Breonna Taylor, Steven Demarco Taylor, and so many more, the Central Park accosting of Christian Cooper, the arrest of a brown journalist on live TV, and the countless less visible daily injustices, all reflective of the world showing its racist self over and over, even amidst the structural violence perpetrated on people of color by Covid-19, had me in tears this morning… not for the first time this week.

Time and time again we see that the Black and Brown folks among us are branded as suspects at birth. That the world does not equitably share the benefit of doubts. That we cannot all hold space equally, in safety, and with equitable voice. That one person’s protest is another’s imprisonment…or funeral. Hatred, prejudice, and the anger and fear they evoke are heartbreaking and deeply unsettling in our community. And real. And not new, they are just streaming on camera now. I’ve felt that heaviness among Cityblock all week. …


Alina Schnake-Mahl, ScD, MPH, Research Scientist — Data Science
Lon Binder, Chief Technology Officer
Marcy Carty, MD, MPH, Associate Chief Health Officer

Back in January, pre-COVID-19, we launched a new set of company values: Put Members First, Be All In, Bring Your Whole Self, Aim for Understanding, and Lean into Discomfort.

In a post from Iyah and Toyin on April 16th, we discussed what the COVID-19 crisis means for Cityblock and the work we’re doing, anchored within one of our core values: “Put Members First.”

Over the coming weeks, we’ll share more on our response to COVID-19 and how our values are driving our work to provide care for marginalized communities.


Toyin Ajayi, Co-founder and Chief Health Officer
Kyle Bailey, Manager of Nursing, Brooklyn
Bay Gross, Co-founder and Head of Product
Elizabeth McCormick, Associate Medical Director, Brooklyn
Kyle Talcott, Head of National Operations

Back in January, pre-COVID-19, we launched a new set of company values: Put Members First, Be All In, Bring Your Whole Self, Aim for Understanding, and Lean into Discomfort.

In a post from Iyah and Toyin on April 16th, we discussed what the COVID-19 crisis means for Cityblock and the work we’re doing, anchored within one of our core values: “Put Members First.”

Over the coming weeks, we’ll share more on our response to COVID-19 and how our values are driving our work to provide care for marginalized communities. Today, we’ll explain what “Be All In” means to us and how we are showing up for our members when it matters most.


Pooja Mehta and Monique Varcianna

Thanks to disciplined advocacy, storytelling, and science from those like the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, the shameful statistic that Black women in the United States are 3–4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women is now well known. We know that in New York City, where Cityblock is based and where we are both from, Black women are 12 times more likely to die than their White counterparts.

This epidemiology represents historical inequity and health system failure, stemming from structural racism, not race itself. Black birthing people, their families, and communities know this reality well, making traditional systems of care harder to trust in the very moments that they are most frequently relied upon — from OBGYN clinics to hospitals, from pediatric offices and emergency rooms to WIC clinics and social work agencies. …


Toyin Ajayi and Iyah Romm, Co-Founders, Cityblock Health

We’re about one month into the COVID-19 crisis. A month of unprecedented tears, fear, pride, unfathomable courage, and deepening rage. We’ll never be the same again. This post is a look at what it’s meant for a care provider with a mission to radically improve the health of marginalized communities. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share our stories, experiences, and tools and resources that we’ve built to respond to COVID-19. We hope these can benefit our communities.

We are in the middle of what’s likely to be the peak of the pandemic in Brooklyn — home not just to the two of us, but also to Cityblock’s headquarters, our first community Hubs, the majority of our team, and many thousands of our members. …


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Alina Schnake-Mahl, MPH, ScD, Evaluation Scientist, Cityblock Health and Pooja Mehta, MD, Women’s Health Lead, Cityblock Health

In 2011, a new healthcare program based in Camden, New Jersey, gained national attention and made “healthcare hotspotting” a common term in the industry. The program was built on the idea that people who frequently access emergency or hospital care often experience overlapping medical conditions and challenges in their daily lives — impeding health and driving up costs.

Recently, though, a rigorous study evaluating the impact of the Camden Coalition program showed that people with two hospital admissions in a six-month period who were randomly assigned to a care transition intervention did not use less hospital care than similar “super-utilizers” who did not receive the intervention. …


Iyah Romm, CEO & Co-Founder

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We launched Cityblock a year and a half ago with the aim of building the first tech-driven provider for communities with complex needs. Today we bring radically better care to neighborhoods where the healthcare system has let people down — delivering care for medical and behavioral health needs, and the social challenges people face day-to-day. We believed we could achieve this by bridging technology with trusting, person-to-person relationships, in a manner designed to support providers and empower people to have a role in their own care.

On launch day, I remember feeling optimistic and energized by the journey we were about to embark on, and thinking, here we go!

In just 18 months, we’ve built Commons, our novel care delivery platform, designed to make it easy and efficient for our team to collaboratively care for each member. Commons keeps our mobile care teams looped into what’s going on with every member, from real-time hospital admission alerts to tracking treatment progress. …

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