Newark Bound VG 2016 Winter | Spring : Page 66

Be Well Newark’s Champions of Community Health By Martta Kelly A vast selection of health and wellness initiatives has sprung up within the Newark metro area to enhance the lives of its growing and ever-changing population. The aim behind these initiatives is to get people to exercise, create access to affordable and nutritious food, and provide medical services to a diverse group of individuals who call Newark home. 66 | WINTER . SPRING . 2016 | NewarkBound

Be Well

Martta Kelly

Newark’s Champions of Community Health

A vast selection of health and wellness initiatives has sprung up within the Newark metro area to enhance the lives of its growing and ever-changing population.

The aim behind these initiatives is to get people to exercise, create access to affordable and nutritious food, and provide medical services to a diverse group of individuals who call Newark home.

To encourage people to get out and exercise the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided grant money to resurface the two-mile Lenape Trail Walking Path in Newark’s Branch Brook Park. The foundation, along with a group of investors, has also launched the New Jersey Food Access Initiative, which provides financial incentives to supermarkets that open stores in Newark and other underserved cities.

The area’s hospitals have long adapted to the changing needs of city residents.

Barnabas Health | A presence in the city for more than 150 years, Barnabas Health, formerly known as the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, had humble beginnings in 1865, when a group of women from Grace Church and Christ Church of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark established the Hospital of Saint Barnabas in a private home.

Over time, the hospital expanded, undergoing a number of moves and name changes, before becoming Barnabas Health in 2011, the largest healthcare network in the state. In Essex County alone, Barnabas Health encompasses Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC) and the Children’s Hospital at Newark Beth Israel, Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.

“Barnabas Health’s three Essex County hospitals are a significant part of the rich 350-year history of the City of Newark,” said Barry H. Ostrowsky, president and chief executive officer of Barnabas Health.

All three of the system’s Essex County hospitals have served city residents since the 1800s, he added, pointing to Clara Maass Medical Center, which originated as Newark German Hospital in 1868, and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, founded in 1901. Clara Maass continues to provide services to the nearby North Ward of Newark from its campus overlooking Branch Brook Park.

“As health care evolves, our hospitals and programs continue to adapt to meeting the changing needs of the communities we serve,” said Ostrowsky.

He pointed out that Newark Beth started the first pediatric unit for the city in 1903, and was among the first in the nation. The hospital continues to be revolutionary with its nationally recognized cardiac care and heart transplant program, award-winning KidsFit exercise and nutrition program, and Beth Challenge weight loss and fitness program that promote better health. Children’s Hospital has the largest––and one of the region’s best–– neonatal intensive care units and boasts one of the top pediatric cardiology programs, he added.

“We are dedicated to bringing Newark residents innovative social, human and health services, while at the same time providing them the highest quality, culturally competent clinical care and superior experience,” Ostrowsky stated.

NBIMC oversees a wide variety of services to the community, including, a Lunch and Learn program and community-based wellness workshops. Free screenings for vascular health, as well as for breast and prostate cancers are offered every year.

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School | Since Newark is one of the most diverse and densely populated cities in New Jersey, there are opportunities to learn about and treat diseases that are not often seen elsewhere, according to Dr. Robert L. Johnson, the Sharon and Joseph L. Muscarelle Endowed Dean at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS).

University Hospital provides handson care in its Level One trauma center, one of only three in the state, he said. NJMS was recently named the number one National Institutes of Healthfunded entity for biomedical research in New Jersey, with more than $28 million being awarded to its researchers. One important discovery, according to Johnson, is the rapid TB test, which accurately diagnoses tuberculosis in 100 minutes, as compared to the prior test’s three-month turnaround time. Current research focusing on infectious diseases has yielded a breakthrough test for Lyme disease, as well as new treatments for aggressive viruses.

The school is also home to the oldest and first free health clinic run by medical students. The Student Family Health Care Center is available to residents of Newark and the surrounding areas who are uninsured and in need of primary care checkups and medical care. Other services include a TB clinic that provides treatment to all New Jersey residents and which has practically eradicated TB in Newark; HIV screenings conducted by a mobile unit that visits the community almost on a daily basis, and a mobile mammography unit.

Rutgers School of Nursing | Since its establishment in Newark 60 years ago, Rutgers School of Nursing (formerly known as the College of Nursing) has been dedicated to educating a diverse pool of nurses and improving health and well-being in Newark and its surrounding communities.

“The Newark metro area offers wonderful opportunities for our students to gain hands-on experience in an urban community,” said Lynn McFarlane, director of marketing and communications at Rutgers School of Nursing, adding that the school boasts one of the largest nursing programs in the nation.

Rutgers School of Nursing operates one of the few nurse-managed federally qualified health centers in the U.S., she noted. This designation allows the school to extend its service hours and see more patients, while offering benefits such as discounted medications and free vaccines for uninsured children. The community health program includes the FOCUS Wellness Center, the Jordan and Harris Community Health Center, and the New Jersey Children’s Health Project.

More than 400 families receive HIV health care and social services from Rutgers School of Nursing’s Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center Clinic, housed within University Hospital. Services include HIV testing and treatment, education and prevention, psychiatric care, medical nutrition therapy, home visits, and 24-hour on-call access to a physician.

Rutgers School of Dental Medicine | Residents of Newark who do not have access to affordable dental care can visit the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. “Last year, we treated 123,000 patients, many of them from Newark,” said Cecile A. Feldman, the school’s dean.

In addition to student dentists who offer treatment in general and specialty clinics, the dental school has some of the top dentists and oral surgeons in the world, according to Feldman. The Center for Orofacial Pain and Temporomandibular Disorders, for example, is internationally recognized as a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain. It also offers one of the few Special Needs clinics in the region that treat people with physical and mental disabilities.

In February, the pediatric dentistry clinics hold their annual Give Kids a Smile event, offering free dental checkups to hundreds of Essex County children. While the School of Dental Medicine does not offer formal tours, people are invited to visit the campus.

Seton Hall University College of Nursing | Although not in Newark, the College of Nursing at Seton Hall University in South Orange has served the area for many years. One important development to come out of the College of Nursing is the Text4baby mHealth program that is used by women living in transitional housing at Covenant House-New Jersey in Newark.

Text4Baby, explained Dr. Mary Ellen Roberts, assistant professor in the graduate department at the College of Nursing, was adapted from a national model that uses text messages to communicate with women with the aim of improving health literacy and awareness. The project allows women who are pregnant or have young children to receive health information via mobile phone. Further information, as well as information on tours, is available by calling (973) 761-9291.

Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness | Getting enough to eat has always been a critical issue for many of Newark’s low-income residents, according to Dr. Hanaa A. Hamdi, director of health and community wellness in Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s office. In response, the Department of Health and Community Wellness has implemented several programs designed to address “food insecurity.”

“One in five children goes to sleep hungry, and mothers often skip meals so they have enough food to give to their children,” Hamdi said. The Good Samaritan Feeding Program provides lunch and dinner for people in the community who don’t get enough. For families, there is also the After School Feeding Program, designed to complement Sun Up, a summer food program. “These feeding programs aim to get families to eat dinner together while kids do their homework,” she noted. There are currently 36 sites throughout the city.

The health and community wellness department also oversees a free flu clinic and vaccination program from mid-October through February. The school vaccination program, according to Hamdi, quadrupled its immunization record in 2015, from 320 to more than 1,450.

Contact Information:

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital | General tours are available at NBIMC and Children’s Hospital by calling 800-843-2384.

Clara Maass Medical Center | For information call: 973-450-2000.

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School | Further information is available from the dean’s office at 973-972-2100.

Rutgers School of Nursing | For information, call: 973-972-0380 or the main number, 973-732-6040.

Rutgers School of Dental Medicine | For more information, visit: or call 973-972-4242.

Seton Hall College of Nursing | For information and tours, call 973-761-9291. Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness | For information, call 973-733-5310.

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