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Office of the Commissioner:

Message from NJDHSS Acting Commissioner Mary O’Dowd

I thank Governor Christie for giving me the opportunity to serve as Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.  Having worked within NJDHSS for several years, I understand and will continue to work toward overcoming the incredible health care challenges that stand before New Jersey.  Whether protecting the public’s health, ensuring quality health care for all or supporting our seniors with the services they need to live with independence and dignity, the Department will do all that it can to improve the health and lives of every resident of our state.  Read Full Story


Senior Services

Working Smarter to Ensure Access to “NJ SNAP” for More New Jersey Seniors
To further enhance aid to our seniors, the Department is using our PAAD enrollment files to increase awareness of the New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP in the Department of Human Services. NJDHSS believes there are thousands of low-income seniors who could be eligible for food assistance, but may not be aware of it. This PAAD data is being shared with the counties to simplify the application process. The average SNAP benefit issued to households with only seniors in them is $170.99 per month.

SNAP is administered by DHS’ Division of Family Development (DFD) through the counties. Eligibility screening and an online application is available through www.njhelps.org. Click here for more information on “NJSNAP.”

Acting Commissioner Mary O’Dowd Promotes New Preventive Benefits of Medicare Part B to Seniors
On May 25, 2011, NJDHSS Acting Commissioner Mary O’Dowd met with 100 seniors at the Cedar Glen Homes Recreation Hall in Manchester to highlight new preventive benefits available in Medicare Part B. She also urged seniors to take a “Wellness Pledge”. Read Full Story


Public Health - Healthy People and Healthy Communities

A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls
Many seniors are less active than they should be because they have a fear of falling. This lack of activity, however, can make them weak, which increases their risk of falling. Fear of falling can also lead to isolation and depression when they limit their interactions with family and friends. A program called A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls can help people improve their quality of life and remain independent. Read Full Story

Ten New Jersey Communities Awarded Obesity Prevention Grants
As part of a unique public-private partnership to help reverse the obesity epidemic, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has joined with Walgreens, the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, and Partners for Health to fund 10 local projects that will promote physical activity and healthier eating in communities around the state. Click here for complete information about the grant award and the recipients.

One Needle, One Syringe, Only One Time
New Jersey is one of three states piloting a new public health campaign to raise awareness among patients and healthcare providers about safe injection practices. The program entitled, “The One & Only Campaign” seeks to ensure that patients are protected each and every time they receive a medical injection. It is also designed to eliminate outbreaks of infections resulting from unsafe injection practices. Unsafe practices include inserting used needles into multi-dose vial or solution containers, using a single needle or syringe to administer medication to multiple patients, and preparing medications in the same workspace where used needles and syringes are present. Upon completion of the pilot campaigns, the One & Only Campaign will expand to additional states and eventually nationwide. Nevada and New York are the other two states currently taking part in the program.

Read Full Story



Public Health Infrastructure, Laboratories and Emergency Response

Acting Commissioner O’Dowd Urges New Jersey Residents to Take Hurricane Precautionss
With June marking National Hurricane Month, there's no better time for families to review their emergency plans and prepare in the event a major hurricane should strike the Jersey coast. Read Full Story

BioWatch Program Going Indoors
The DHSS BioWatch program is developing response capabilities for an indoor release of bio-terror agents. NJDHSS is developing its response plans in collaboration with the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Read Full Story

Regional POD Exercises
All 21 New Jersey County LINCS agencies will participate in regional Point of Dispensing (POD) exercises this spring. The exercises are one of the deliverables of the CDC Cooperative Agreement for public health emergencies and are being funded with H1N1 funding. Every LINCS agency will participate in these exercises, which will test the ability of a LINCS agency to open a POD regionally. Read Full Story

NJOEM and NJ Statewide Independent Living Council Promotes Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities
It’s National Hurricane Preparedness Week, and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management is partnering with the NJ Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) to promote and improve emergency preparedness for people with disabilities. Read Full Story


Employee Notes

Ruth Charbonneau, RN, JD was named Chief of Staff on May 23, 2011. In her role as Chief of Staff, she is responsible for oversight of administrative and programmatic operations of the Department and Office of the Commissioner and serves in a general advisory role to the Commissioner. Ms. Charbonneau brings to the position professional experience as a registered nurse in acute care, home, and out-patient clinic settings and an extensive history of state service.

The Department has a new Executive Director of the Office of Minority and Multicultural Heath, Dr. M. Carolyn Daniels, DHSC. Prior to joining the Department, Dr. Daniels spent 18 years with United Healthcare, concluding her time with the company as Vice President of Business Development. In this role she expanded business and growth in the Medicaid Managed care market.


Updated Rules and Regulations

DHSS Proposes to Readopt with Amendments N.J.A.C. 8:23, the Rules Governing Reporting of Rabies in Animals, Control of Avian Chlamydiosis in Pet Birds, Sales and Distribution of Turtles and Turtle Eggs, and Transportation by Animal Control Officers

DHSS Proposes New Rules at N.J.A.C. 8:43C Establishing Registration Standards for Surgical Practices

Department of Health and Senior Services Proposes Amendments to Establish Criteria for Continued Participation in the Atlantic Cardiovascular Patient Outcomes Research Team (Atlantic C-Port–E) Trial


Grill Safely This Summer Season – Cook Foods to Proper Temperatures

Department of Community Affairs/Department of Health and Senior Services
(Trenton) Before firing up the grill this Holiday weekend, Community Affairs Commissioner Lori Grifa and Health and Senior Services Acting Commissioner Mary O’Dowd recommend that residents review tips for safe grilling and food handling to avoid illness and injury this summer. Read Full Story


June Health Observances

Men’s Health Month
The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. For more information, visit: http://www.menshealthmonth.org/.

National Cancer Survivor Day - June 5, 2011
National Cancer Survivors Day® is an annual, treasured worldwide Celebration of Life that is held in hundreds of communities throughout the United States, Canada, and other participating countries. Participants unite in a symbolic event to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful and productive. For more information please visit: The National Cancer Survivor Day website. For more information on cancer and the programs and services available in New Jersey please visit the NJDHSS Cancer Initiatives homepage.

National HIV Testing Day - June 27, 2011
National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage people of all ages to "Take the Test, Take Control."

Early HIV diagnosis is critical, so people who are infected can fully benefit from available life-saving treatments. Currently, almost 40 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they already have developed AIDS. That can be up to 10 years after they first became infected with HIV. Finding out whether you are infected with HIV is the first step to improving your health and the health of your partners and your family. For more information, visit: http://www.hivtest.org/press_files/default.aspx. For more information on HIV and services and programs available in New Jersey, please visit the NJDHSS HIV/Aids Services home page.


DHSS

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