PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
January 16, 2013

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Department Awards $90,000 to Five Organizations to Fight Chronic Disease in Minority Communities

The New Jersey Department of Health's Office of Minority and Multicultural Health has awarded five community organizations $18,000 each to implement Take Control of Your Health, a self-management program that empowers individuals to fight chronic illnesses.

The five organizations receiving awards are:

  • CompleteCare Health Network - Bridgeton, Cumberland County
  • Friends of Grace - Englewood, Bergen County
  • Hunterdon Prevention Resources - Flemington, Hunterdon County
  • The Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey - Newark, Essex County
  • University Correctional HealthCare - Newark, Essex County

The funding will be used to implement five, six-week workshops designed to improve the health of those with chronic conditions, including asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and HIV/AIDS.  Peer leaders are also trained to provide the course to participants and their caregivers. The Take Control of your Health workshops are designed to improve health and quality of life of those who participate in the program.

"Improving the health of those with chronic illnesses is one of the major goals of public health officials across the nation," said Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd.  "Empowering people to manage and improve their own health is an effective way to institute long-lasting and meaningful change.  Successful evidence-based programs, like Take Control of Your Health, should be encouraged and expanded if possible.

Program participants learn strategies for managing symptoms, emotional distress, relaxation techniques, and effective ways to communicate and work with health care professionals.  Nutrition education and the benefits of exercise are also stressed throughout the program.  More on Take Control of Your Health is available at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/omh/cdsmp_mg.shtml.

The grants are effective this month through June 30, 2013.

Since Take Control of Your Health was introduced in New Jersey in 2007, more than 5,000 people have participated statewide.  Currently more than 60 agencies are partnering to make Take Control of Your Health available in local sites across New Jersey.  

According to Stanford University, who developed the chronic disease self-management program, Take Control of Your Health reduces fatigue, health distress and increases confidence in people's ability to manage their chronic conditions.

Chronic illnesses place a tremendous burden on the residents of New Jersey:

  • Seven of the ten leading causes of death in New Jersey are chronic diseases
  • Heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes alone are responsible for about 58 percent of deaths in New Jersey
  • African American residents experience a higher death rate due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes when compared to other racial/ethnic groups
  • Research shows that minority groups suffer from higher rates of chronic illnesses compared to the general population

 About the Grantees:

CompleteCare Health Network is a federally qualified health center that serves the primary medical, dental and behavioral health needs of the underserved population in Cumberland, Gloucester and Cape May Counties. Its mission is to provide its patients access to affordable, high-quality health services that is culturally competent and sensitive to the special needs of all of its patients. It works to break down barriers to care  and prevent illness and injury among those most at risk by extending health promotion and treatment to schools, neighborhoods and work places in the communities served.

Friends of Grace is a nonprofit and community based service organization with a mission to promote healthy and independent living for all individuals, empowering them to live quality lives in their golden years.  

Hunterdon Prevention Resources offers a full continuum of evidence-based prevention and education services to Hunterdon county residents. Its mission is to support the health and wellness of individuals, families and the community served by providing education, counseling and advocacy services.

The Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey is a nonprofit community based agency that assists the sickle cell community with non-medical needs statewide.  Its mission is to advocate for and enhance its membership's ability to improve the quality of health, life and services for individuals, families and communities affected by sickle cell disease. 

University Correctional HealthCare (UCHC) is responsible for the provision of comprehensive medical and mental health services to inmates within the 13 New Jersey State prisons.  Its mission is to provide medical services that are accessible, effective, compassionate, accountable and efficient.