PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
August 10, 2015

Cathleen D. Bennett
Acting Commissioner

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

New Jersey Celebrates Health Center Week with Ocean County Kickoff Event

More than 60 events planned across the state from August 9 to 15

For 50 years, community health centers have provided care to millions of residents, offering patient-focused, coordinated services to families and individuals in need of preventative and primary care.

As part of National Health Center Week, a total of 63 events are planned across New Jersey this week to honor the extraordinary work of these centers. A kickoff event is scheduled on Monday, August 10 at Ocean Health Initiatives in Lakewood from 12 to 3 p.m. Acting New Jersey Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett will attend, along with members of the New Jersey Primary Care Association and federal and local officials. The theme for this year's celebration is America's Health Centers: Celebrating Our Legacy, Shaping Our Future.

"Health centers are one of the greatest strengths in New Jersey's health system," Acting Health Commissioner Bennett said. "They provide comprehensive and preventive health services and medical care including immunizations, health screenings, behavioral health care and social services, to keep New Jerseyans healthy. These centers know their community's health needs and do an excellent job of tailoring services to best serve local residents."

Governor Chris Christie proclaimed August 9 through August 15 Health Center Week in New Jersey to recognize the achievements of health centers in delivering accessible, cost-effective and quality services to all people, regardless of their ability to pay.

New Jersey has 20 community health centers with more than 100 sites across the state serving as critical health care safety nets for residents. The Department of Health provides more than $32 million in the current state budget to support their care of uninsured and underinsured residents. Last year, New Jersey's health centers served more than 475,000 individuals with 1.5 million visits. Nearly one third of the patients are uninsured and 53% are on Medicaid.

"Health care centers provide access to care for New Jersey's medically underserved residents to improve health care outcomes and reduce costs," Acting Commissioner Bennett said.

In rural areas as well as urban areas, community health centers provide prenatal and well baby care and immunizations to prevent childhood diseases like whooping cough and measles. They provide screenings for cancer, blood pressure and HIV. Many community health centers provide dental care and behavioral health care and bring mobile vans to underserved populations. Most have extended evening and weekend hours and some have pharmacies on-site.

Ocean Health Initiatives is a federally qualified health center, with locations in Lakewood, Manahawkin, Toms River and Manchester, which offer an array of health services including dental, OB/GYN, pediatric and behavioral services. Last year, the health center served more than 23,000 residents, 80% of which were women and children.

National Health Center Week events across the state include health fairs, screenings, community walks, and educational sessions. To find an event near you visit: http://www.healthcenterweek.com/events.cfm

Visit the Department's website to find a community health center location and services.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter at

twitter.com/NJDeptofHealth and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NJDeptofHealth.

Last Reviewed: 8/10/2015