Bridging Health Equity Across Communities in Passaic County

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Passaic County Food Policy Council

Members of the Passaic County Food Policy Council were excited to participate in the Health Equity Forum on April 7, 2017 that was convened by the Passaic County Department of Health (PCDH) in conjunction with the NJ Department of Health (NJDOH), and the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH). Partners included the American Heart/Stroke Association, the Passaic County Public Health Partnership, the Passaic County Food Policy Council, and the Passaic County Health Coalition. The forum commemorated both National Public Health Week and National Minority Health month. The forum theme was “Bridging Health Equity Across Communities.”

More than 150 persons attended the forum, including several county and municipal health officers, representatives from local hospitals, council members from municipal government, and a wide array of public health professionals and public health students from Montclair State University.

Dr. Carolyn Daniels, Executive Director of the NJDOH’s Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH), opened the forum by discussing her office’s role in preventing, protecting and promoting health in the minority and multicultural communities in New Jersey. Our own Dr. Charlene W. Gungil, Director and Health Officer for the Passaic County Health Department welcomed attendees to the forum and the county, inviting them to avail themselves of the numerous opportunities to experience diverse foods, locations and the rich history that is Passaic County’s.

The day’s agenda featured speakers who offered 15- minute presentations, followed by a panel discussion. Among the presenters were

  • Naa-Solo Tettey, Asst. Prof. Public Health William Paterson University
  • Ashley Anglin, Coordinator, Atlantic Center for Population Health Sciences, Atlantic Health System
  • Michelle Jansen, Program Associate, Supervisor, Rutgers SNAP-ED
  • Ilise Zimmerman, Executive Director, Partnership for Maternal and Child Health
  • Yvonne Zuidema, President & CEO, United Way of Passaic County
  • Maria Baron and Dr. Barbara Goun, NJ Department of Health
  • Leslie Eaddy, Director of Health Equity and Multicultural Initiatives for the American Heart/Stroke Association

Topics discussed included: the black infant mortality rate in NJ; an innovative faith-based heart health program in the region; the making of a health collaborative; new and existing heart heath programs available through the American Heart/Stroke Association; the work of our Passaic County Food Policy Council; the United Way’s work; nutrition programs administered by Rutgers SNAP-ED; the necessity of addressing housing needs prior to the implementation of healthy programs; and a needs assessment in the Bengali population in Passaic County. The forum also included a live web demonstration on the updates to the NJ State Health Assessment Data site (NJSHAD) and a poster presentation by OMMH grant recipients.

More than 110 completed evaluations strongly agreed that the forum was a huge success. To suggest topics or presenters for the 2018 Health Equity Forum or learn more about the Passaic County Food Policy Council’s progress, reach out to us here.

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Charlene W. Gungil, DHSc
Passaic County Health Department