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First Lady Tammy Murphy to Host Family Festival in Atlantic City to Combat New Jersey’s Maternal and Infant Health Crisis


ATLANTIC CITY – On Saturday, September 7, First Lady Tammy Murphy will host a Family Festival in Atlantic City. As part of Nurture NJ, her statewide awareness campaign to combat the maternal and infant health crisis in New Jersey, the First Lady developed the Family Festival event series to target cities with high rates of maternal and infant mortality and connect mothers, fathers, grandparents, and anyone else involved in taking care of a child with state, county, and local resources—creating a one-stop shop for state, county, and local resources.

The Atlantic City Family Festival, which is funded by The Nicholson Foundation, is hosted in collaboration with the Office of Mayor Frank Gilliam, Family Health Initiatives, and Atlantic City public schools, and will feature over 100 participating community organizations. Attendees will have access to prenatal care and midwives, eye exams, pediatric services, mental health and addiction services, energy assistance programs, child care centers, food and housing assistance programs, and more. There will also be performances from local artists, raffle prizes, face painting, balloon animals, free food, and much more. 

Organized through our Nurture NJ initiative, Family Festivals are one-stop-shops of state, county, and local resources for caregivers, and are designed to combat New Jersey’s maternal and infant health crisis,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Together, we will reach our goal of making New Jersey the safest place in the country to give birth, through providing support for our mothers and babies across a range of economic and social factors, and eliminating the racial disparities and implicit bias in our health care systems.”

Black women in New Jersey are five times more likely than white women to die from childbirth-related complications, and our urban centers like Atlantic City, Newark, Trenton, Camden, and Paterson have the worst outcomes. The Atlantic City Family Festival is the fifth in the series, with previous festivals held in Paterson, Trenton, Camden, and Newark. The previous four festivals helped over 2,600 attendees meet and interact with over 370 providers to learn more about state, county, and local programs and services. 

Nurture NJ is committed to reducing infant and maternal mortality and morbidity and ensuring equitable maternal and infant care among women and children of all races and ethnicities. The campaign, which is devoted to serving every mother, every baby, and every family, includes a multi-pronged, multi-agency approach to improve maternal and infant health among New Jersey women and children. Nurture NJ includes internal collaboration between departments and agencies; an annual Black Maternal and Infant Health Leadership Summit; the First Lady’s Family Festival event series; and a robust social media strategy to inform and raise awareness. 

“The First Lady’s Family Festivals have proven to be highly successful and beneficial to families throughout New Jersey, and Human Services looks forward to joining the First Lady in Atlantic City on Saturday to continue advancing our shared goal of supporting families,” said New Jersey Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “NJ Human Services and our partners will be there helping connect families to health care coverage, food assistance, child care help, emergency assistance, free eye screenings and more. We look forward to another great day helping New Jerseyans learn more about the programs and services available‎ to support families.”

“The First Lady’s Family Festival in Atlantic City is a great way for women and families to connect with valuable resources like our Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program which provides access to healthy food, nutrition education and breastfeeding guidance,” said New Jersey Department of Health Acting Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Families can also learn how healthy foods with calcium, iron and vitamin C can limit the absorption of lead in their children’s bodies.”

“The First Lady’s Family Festivals provide participants with access to an array of community-based resources to suit their needs,” said New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer. “The First Lady brings the programs to the people, which takes away so much of the confusion or apprehension that families face when researching local organizations and agencies on their own. The Festivals are always an incredible day spent with children enjoying the entertainment, while their parents and others explore the collection of services available in their area.”

“The Nicholson Foundation is proud to partner with the office of the First Lady in helping to reduce health disparities by connecting communities to needed health and social services,” said Arturo Brito, Executive Director of The Nicholson Foundation.  “We are looking forward to helping families in the Atlantic City area connect to resources in their community through the Atlantic City Family Festival.”   
“I am excited First Lady Murphy is hosting the Family Festival in Atlantic City this Saturday,” said Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam. “My administration is focusing heavily on the topic of fetal and maternal health. This festival shows the cooperation between the First Lady of New Jersey’s office and my own to educate our community on the importance of these issues. We welcome First Lady Murphy and the participants, and we look forward to a great festival.”
“We are excited to add First Lady Tammy Murphy to the members of the Governor’s team who actively support Atlantic City Schools and the families of Atlantic City,” Barry Caldwell, Superintendent of Atlantic City Public Schools.

“Family Health Initiatives is thrilled to partner with the First Lady’s Office and all the participating agencies to bring the Family Festival to Atlantic City,” said Helen Hannigan, Chief Operating Officer of Family Health Initiatives. “FHI’s daily work promotes the expansion of best practices for the health and well-being of families and there is nothing more proven than play and connection to ensure kids and parents thrive. We know it will be a fantastic day for everyone.”