PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
Friday, April 1, 2016

Cathleen D. Bennett
Acting Commissioner

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

April is Minority Health Month

2016 national theme: “Accelerating Health Equity for the Nation”

From blood pressure screenings to wellness fairs and health equity forums, dozens of community groups, faith-based organizations, hospitals, local health departments and nursing homes are observing Minority Health Month with about 70 events planned throughout New Jersey in April.

“New Jersey is an incredibly diverse state, with more than 20 percent of our population foreign-born,” Acting Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said. “Though disparities remain, these events will help address challenges and advance health equity by offering free screening and educational opportunities.”

Acting Commissioner Bennett will participate in two health equity forums this month, both co-hosted by the Department’s Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH).

On April 7, an event at the Public Health and Environmental Laboratories (3 Schwarzkopf Dr., Ewing, NJ) will feature grantees using the Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More curriculum, which promotes healthy eating and physical activity in faith-based communities. On April 29, Rutgers University-Newark will host an African American Alzheimer’s Awareness program at the Paul Robeson Center (350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark, NJ) that is expected to attract about 300 Newark residents.

The OMMH will also sponsor a third health equity forum in partnership with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as part of the Camden County Women’s Health Conference on April 9 at Eastern Regional High School (1401 Laurel Oak Rd., Voorhees, NJ). This event will feature nutritional food selections, meal planning and the importance of physical activity.

"We are happy to partner with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association this year to raise awareness of the health disparities that continue to affect our racially and ethnically diverse communities,” said Carolyn Daniels, executive director of the OMMH. “We invite residents all across the state to join us in demonstrating how we are working together to achieve health equity in New Jersey.” 

New Jersey has a population of more than 8 million residents, and 9 percent live in rural areas. The Department of Health, with the New Jersey Primary Care Association and New Jersey Rural Health Advisory Committee, will host the state’s first-ever rural health symposium on April 21 to foster policy development, information sharing and resource coordination among government agencies, health care providers and social services to improve health outcomes for rural residents.

The event, “Quality through Collaboration: An Integrated Approach to Improving Health in New Jersey Rural Communities,” will address the health care challenges these rural communities face, including high levels of chronic disease, an aging population, and greater numbers of un- and underinsured citizens. It will be held at the Crowne Plaza Princeton Conference Center (800 Scudders Mill Rd., Plainsboro, NJ).

A complete list of Minority Health Month events is available on the Department's website at http://web.doh.state.nj.us/apps2/omh/calendar.aspx.

Reducing barriers to health care for medically underserved residents is one of the Department’s top priorities. The Department’s new Office of Population Health is in charge of coordinating our various population health-related activities including setting targets, measuring outcomes, awarding grants and nurturing collaborations with and among hospitals, clinicians, nonprofit groups, faith-based organizations and others. To do this, the Department uses Healthy New Jersey 2020 – the state's health improvement plan – to promote health and prevent disease.

Population health focuses on keeping healthy New Jerseyans well, those at risk from getting sick, and those with chronic conditions from getting sicker. It promotes prevention, wellness and equity in all environments, resulting in a healthy New Jersey.

For more information about the New Jersey Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, visit https://nj.gov/health/omh/. For more about National Minority Health Month, visit http://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/nmhm/.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter at twitter.com/NJDeptofHealth and on Facebook at facebook.com/NJDeptofHealth.

Last Reviewed: 4/1/2016