- To mark the start of National Public Health Week in New Jersey,
the Department of Health and Senior Services today honored six organizations
- from government, hospitals and private industry - for their outstanding
contributions to public health in the state.
received awards for their work in response to the anthrax contamination
in Hamilton Township last October. Two were honored for their efforts
in the multi-year study of childhood cancer in Dover Township, which
was completed in December.
protect the health and security of New Jersey families, Governor
McGreevey has made major budget commitments in the areas of both
bioterrorism preparedness and cancer care and research, while ensuring
the state lives within its means," said Acting Commissioner
of Health and Senior Services Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
McGreevey has allocated an unprecedented $37 million for cancer
initiatives, including funding for a task force to respond to suspected
cancer clusters such as the one studied in Dover Township,"
Dr. Lacy added. "The Governor also dedicated $25 million to
ensuring that New Jersey has an agile, coordinated public health
system for prevention of and response to health threats related
to acts of terrorism."
Public Health Week awards were presented at a meeting of the state
Public Health Council. "Healthy People in Healthy Communities"
is the theme of National Public Health Week, which runs from April
1 - 7.
thank each of the awardees for their outstanding work during a challenging
year," Dr. Lacy added. "I'm pleased we can give them the
public recognition they deserve, and recognize that they represent
many other dedicated people who have made significant contributions
to the health of our state."
following were honored for their work during New Jersey's anthrax
Wood Johnson University Hospital, Hamilton - The hospital
immediately responded to the need to provide antibiotics to postal
employees who may have been exposed to anthrax. The hospital saw
more than 1,300 postal employees soon after the first anthrax cases
were confirmed, and held two follow-up clinics to renew prescriptions
and provide information and counseling. Christine Stephenson, Chief
Administrative Officer, accepted the award for the hospital.
Francis Medical Center, Trenton - The hospital quickly created
a site to care for hundreds of non-postal workers who been inside
the post office for business reasons. The hospital created a special
unit that provided screening, medical support, medication dispensing,
follow-up visits, immediate counseling, and referrals to longer-term
counseling, if needed. Judith Persichilli, President and CEO, accepted
the award for the hospital.
Medco, Franklin Lakes - Merck Medco helped the state manage
the large antibiotic inventory sent from the National Pharmaceutical
Stockpile. To turn boxes of various antibiotics into usable prescriptions,
Merck Medco sorted medications, dispensed them in the proper dosages
and amounts, labeled bottles, kept proper records and operated a
consumer help line for people with questions and concerns. Jeff
Sinko, Senior Attorney, accepted the award for Merck Medco.
Township Division of Health, Hamilton - As the local public
health agency, the division provided vital local support, both by
assisting RWJ-Hamilton and St. Francis hospitals, and by talking
to hundreds of residents who called with questions and health concerns.
Jeffrey J. Plunkett, Health Officer, accepted the award for the
following were honored for their contributions during the six-year
investigation of childhood cancer in Dover Township:
County Health Department, Toms River - The department was
a key local partner in the investigation as well as being the agency
local residents could contact to get the latest information on the
study. From hosting meetings to helping collect environmental samples
for the study, the department provided important ongoing support.
Joseph Przywara, Public Health Coordinator, accepted the award for
the health department.
Community Medical Center, Toms River
- The hospital provided considerable behind-the-scenes support to
the department - such as donating space for the Toms River field
office - for the duration of study. The hospital conducted "grand
rounds" for community physicians to bring them the latest information
on childhood cancer diagnosis and treatment, and held education
programs on cancer. Nancy Wollen, RN, CHE, Executive Director, accepted
the award for the hospital.