Government Information Departments and Agencies NJ Business Portal MY New Jersey NJ people NJ Home Page

News Release

   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   April 1, 2002


Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Marilyn Riley

Six Honored for Achievement with Public Health Week Awards

TRENTON - 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.

Four 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.

"To 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.

"Governor 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."

The 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.

"I 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."

The following were honored for their work during New Jersey's anthrax situation:

Robert 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.

St. 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.

Merck 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.

Hamilton 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 agency.

The following were honored for their contributions during the six-year investigation of childhood cancer in Dover Township:

Ocean 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.

# # #

State Privacy Notice legal statement DHSS Feedback Page New Jersey Home

department: njdhss home | index by topic | programs/services
statewide: njhome | my new jersey | people | business | government | departments | search

Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2004
Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

Last Updated: