The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey recently awarded 14 grants totaling $1.2 million to improve the health and wellness of underserved and vulnerable populations in greater Newark and the surrounding Essex County NJ communities.
The largest of the grants ($190,884) was awarded to Rutgers School of Nursing to expand its work with community health workers in Newark to develop a health worker specialty in maternal and child health. The project seeks to improve poor birth and early childhood outcomes among the city’s most underserved populations and demonstrate that the community health worker model is an effective, economical approach to improving health-seeking behavior and lowering costs.
Seed funding will create a specialized training program that will cover the various educational competencies, skills, and tools needed to support women/families from preconception through infant care and early childhood development. In the second phase, also covered by the grant, four maternal/child health community workers will be selected, trained, and deployed mainly in low income housing developments in which Rutgers Nursing runs its health centers. The new workers will engage women of child-bearing age in preconception planning, early/regular prenatal care, lifestyle education/supports important to healthy births, birth planning and help, and infant and early childhood education and assistance.
Addition grants aimed at improving the health and wellness of the greater Newark community include: $100,000 to Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, to establish a navigation program for patients with head and neck cancers; $75,000 to NPower, to launch a Newark Technology Service Corps and provide mental health supports for veterans who will be trained for careers in the healthcare industry; $61,620 to Integrity House to expand its ability to provide permanent supportive housing for the homeless; $71,350 to the Mental Health Association of Essex County to provide individual and group counseling and supports to the low income families of troubled students at St. Benedict’s Prep; $75,000 to NJCRI to provide services for its mentally ill/dually diagnosed HIV+ clients; $49,000 to Keeping Babies Safe to provide safe cribs and safe sleep education to low income Newark parents; and $75,000 to Planned Parenthood to continue its ACA education and enrollment project.