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For Release:
March 24, 2011

Poonam Alaigh, MD, MSHCPM, FACP

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Department of Health and Senior Services Launches the NJ Center for Health Innovations


Trenton – Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh held the inaugural meeting of the New Jersey Center of Health Innovations on Tuesday, which was attended by more than 50 stakeholders.  Representatives from the pharma, biotech, maternal and child health, advocacy organizations, and the health care industry attended the first meeting of this working group.


“The New Jersey Center for Health Innovations will harness creative and innovative methods to change and transform the way health and health care are experienced and delivered in New Jersey,” said Commissioner Alaigh.  “The Center is designed to nurture a dialogue across all industries and connect ideas that have great potential with promising mechanisms to improve the health of all our residents.


The Center brings together leaders and policy makers from many fields that touch health care to identify, blueprint, and disseminate innovative practices to improve health care in New Jersey.  Participants will join smaller groups that will focus on delivery systems, care coordination, quality of care, wellness and prevention, disease management, special populations and use of Health Informatics. Through continued meetings, these groups will consider new approaches to improve health care delivery, manage health care information, and explore new paradigms in research and new technologies that improve the health of the population.


On Wednesday, Dr. Alaigh visited an organization, Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative, which will be one of the initiatives examined by the Center for Health Innovations. The Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative is a volunteer nonprofit organization that has provided free primary and preventive medical care to hundreds of low-income working people in Bergen County who lack health insurance. Dr. Samuel Cassell, a retired Bergen County internist, created this organization of volunteer physicians and nurses in 2009 after becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of healthcare for many county residents.  This initiative is part of a national group Volunteers in Medicine, which began in Hilton Head, South Carolina.


“This initiative is a model of how to address the physician shortage and access to care,” said Dr. Alaigh.  “This is exactly the type of innovative work we want to examine and determine how to replicate at the New Jersey Center of Health Innovations.”


New Jersey Center for Health Innovations focus groups will start work in May and will meet quarterly, the larger group will meet biannually.

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