New Jersey Department of Health

PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 7, 2017

Cathleen D. Bennett

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

Christie Administration Honors Population Health Heroes

Community Projects Put Residents on the Road to Better Health

Cancer screenings on the beach, a walking school bus, a community café where school nurses extend their practice, and a partnership offering patient discounts at businesses if they improve their health are among the winners of the Department of Health’s Population Health Hero Awards.


Eight winners were announced today during the Department of Health’s Population Health Summit at Rider University in Lawrenceville. The winners were selected from among 47 applicants, and their trophies were presented by the Commissioners of the Departments of Agriculture, Children and Families, Community Affairs, Environmental Protection, Health and Transportation.


“Shifting the healthcare system’s focus to wellness and collaborating with communities to build healthier environments that promote wellness are cornerstones of the Department’s work,” said Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett. “Inspiring initiatives to improve Population Health are ongoing in every region of our state, and it’s important that we shine a spotlight on this incredible work not only to honor our awardees but to encourage others.”


An interagency panel of judges selected this year’s honorees:

Overall Population Health Hero Award:

  • Jersey City Medical Center designed Wealth from Health, which helped 3,000 patients learn how to better manage their chronic diseases by incentivizing healthy behaviors with discounts to more than 100 businesses. In addition, patient navigators supported patient engagement, education, and empowerment in different settings. The program reduced admission and emergency room costs by more than $8.7 million.


Clinician Award:

  • Dr. Amy M. Kotler, a pediatrician at Zufall Health Center in Dover, developed and provided leadership for Andale, which helps reduce the risk of diabetes for Latino families. An eight-week course combines nutrition, cooking classes and fitness training for children and health education for parents.


Healthcare Provider/Institution:

  • Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck implemented Asian Health Services, which offers culturally and linguistically appropriate medical services and outreach programs to Asian American communities through a partnership among physicians, churches, community organizations, donors and hospital staff. More than 60,000 patient medical, preventive and wellness care visits are recorded each year by Asian Health Services.


Community-Based Collaboration:

  • Bolger Middle School in Keansburg promoted the health benefits of walking while providing a safe route to school and improving school attendance with its Walking School Bus. The school’s “walking school bus” includes a group of teachers and students who walk to school, stopping at designated meeting points, or “bus stops,” where parents can drop their children off and the students can wait for the walking school bus to pick them up.


Private Sector Institution/Organization:

  • Johnson & Johnson Community Café Team introduced a Community Café model to parents in Camden and Collingswood to enhance access to school nurses and pediatric health care providers. A Family Centered Health Care Collaborative further strengthened connections among school nurses and health care providers, resulting in reduced reliance on emergency rooms for routine care of Camden and Collingswood school children.


Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration:

  • The NJ Partnership for Healthy Kids (NJPHK) focuses on preventing childhood obesity by creating healthy communities in Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, Trenton, and Vineland. The program also informs communities statewide about best practices to transform public policies and schools and improve neighborhoods’ conditions.


  • Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA, and NJPHK-Vineland established a Healthy Food Network (comprised of farm to pantry, healthy corner store, and healthy restaurant components), School District Wellbeing, and Worksite Wellness Initiative to help increase access to healthy foods and beverages, encourage and promote physical activity, and create clinical linkages in low-income communities.


Municipal/County Organization/Coalition:


  • Ocean Monmouth Health Alliance collaborated with The Melanoma Workgroup of the Governor’s Task Force on Cancer Prevention & Early Detection and Treatment and implemented Choose Your Cover, a melanoma/skin cancer education and screening program on beaches, in parks, and at pools.


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