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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
December 18, 2008

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
Dawn Thomas
(609) 984-7160

Commissioner Howard Visits Community Health Center; Announces Grant for Expansion of Health Center Services


Jersey City--Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard today visited the Horizon Health Center in Jersey City to announce nearly $300,000 in funding that will help the center expand prenatal care services in Hudson County.


Despite a faltering economy, Commissioner Howard said it is critical to strengthen the health care safety net provided by community health centers. These centers—also called Federally Qualified Health Centers—provide a range of primary and preventive health services to 350,000 people each year at one of 89 sites around the state. The vast majority of patients served in these centers are either uninsured, enrolled in FamilyCare or recipients of Medicaid and Medicare.


“During these extremely difficult economic times, more people will turn to community health centers for care,” said Governor Corzine.  “It is critical that we strengthen the health care safety net by helping centers to expand their facilities, hours and services to better serve their communities.”


“This is a challenging time for the state’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard. “By expanding access to health care at community health centers, we are preserving the health care safety net so residents get the care they need and deserve.”


Today’s visit to Horizon Health Center is part of Commissioner Howard’s ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the importance of preconception and prenatal health. Since the campaign began in October, Commissioner Howard has visited health centers, Women, Infants and Children clinics, college campuses and a community baby shower to urge women to maintain a healthy lifestyle before, during and in between pregnancies.


“Early prenatal care is an essential component of a healthy pregnancy. It offers the best opportunity for risk assessment, health education, and the management of pregnancy-related complications and conditions,’’ said Commissioner Howard.


The kickoff of this educational campaign follows the September release of the Prenatal Care Task Force report, which recommended raising awareness of preconception care and family planning services among women before they get pregnant, to ensure women enter pregnancy in optimal health. For more information on the Task Force report visit:  Also on the web site is a recent television interview featuring Commissioner Howard talking about the prenatal and preconception health campaign, please visit to view this video.


The Horizon Health Center, which serves 14,000 Hudson County residents each year, intends to use its $298,468 grant to open a satellite facility in Bayonne at the site of a Health Start Clinic that closed in June of 2006. Last year, the Center increased the number of women entering prenatal care and uses a mobile unit to provide pregnancy tests.


“Horizon applauds the Commissioner’s commitment to preconception and prenatal health and will continue to provide services to the women of Hudson County,’’ said Marilyn Cintron, Chief Executive Officer for Horizon Health Center.




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