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For Release:
September 01, 2010

Poonam Alaigh, MD, MSHCPM, FACP

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Office of Communications

Minority and Multicultural Health Month Kicks Off September 1


A Complete Listing of Statewide Events is Available at


Today Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh kicked off a month-long series of events to raise awareness of minority health issues and health disparities as part of Minority and Multicultural Health Month.


Each September, the Department’s Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH) highlights health issues and disparities in the racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse communities of New Jersey.


“This month is about encouraging people to schedule doctor visits, get regular exercise, eat healthy and get screened for diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, HIV and other diseases which disproportionately impact minority communities,” said Commissioner Alaigh. 


Fifty health care providers, community-based groups, faith-based organizations, academic institutions and other community partners are sponsoring health screenings, cultural festivals and other events around the state to promote good health for all. A calendar of events produced by the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health is available at and the Department encourages New Jersey residents to participate in these events and to learn more about how to improve their health.


The theme of this year’s month-long campaign—“Healthy Me, Healthy Us’’—is designed to spotlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle—for individuals, families, communities and for the entire state.


“Healthy individuals make healthy families, and healthy families make healthy communities,” stated Dr. Poonam Alaigh. “Small changes in a person’s lifestyle can make a big difference in their overall health and improve their quality of life.  It’s a message we hope every New Jerseyan will hear and take to heart this month.”


During the kickoff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Commissioner Alaigh joined the South Asian Total Health Initiative (SATHI) at an event designed to increase awareness of the burden of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, tuberculosis, depression and cancer in the South Asian community.


The South Asian Total Health Initiative, a program of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (UMDNJ-RWJMS) Department of Pediatrics, was created in 2009 to develop a resource on South Asian health to improve the delivery of culturally competent care, to address health disparities and to empower the South Asian community.


SATHI received a grant from the Department’s Office of Minority and Multicultural Health to participate in a Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP). The program is designed to give people with chronic conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes and obesity) the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to take a more active part in their health care.



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