Building a Culture of Health in Newark Conference

NJHI 2015: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action Believe in a Healthy Newark

In the fall, the “Believe in a Healthy Newark Initiative” hosted its inaugural “Building a Culture of Health in Newark” conference at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark, NJ. More than 375 people attended the conference.

Research increasingly shows that social determinants—e.g., where you live, how much education you have, what kind of job you have, and the safety of the community in which you live—all play important roles in your health. As such, our conference highlighted work being done by community-based partnerships to address key social determinants of health that impact the Newark community–healthy homes, food & fitness, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The conference featured local initiatives, highighted best practices, and encouraged partnerships to continue building a Culture of Health. Community forums in the South and West wards are being planned for the first quarter of 2018, to continue and advance these discussions. Connect with us for details and to participate in these discussions.

Community forums in Newark’s South and West wards are being planned for the first quarter of 2018, to continue and advance these discussions.

Believe in a Healthy Newark is a non-profit initiative funded, in part, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives program. Believe in a Healthy Newark is using a collective impact approach to identify common measures, develop common interventions, and use assessments of their success, to modify and strengthen their initiatives as they seek to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities.

Dr. Denise Rodgers, Vice Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences set the tone of the conference, welcoming the enthusiastic attendees and giving an overview of the “Believe in a Healthy Newark Initiative,” and introducing a panel of Impact Team leaders, moderated by Jennifer Velez, Senior Vice President for Community and Behavioral Health at RWJBarnabas Health.

Our conference plenary speaker was NJHI Director Bob Atkins, PhD, RN, FAAN, and an Associate Professor at Rutgers University with a joint appointment in Nursing and Childhood Studies. Dr. Atkins talked about moving from a culture of healthcare to a Culture of Health by investing more health resources in where we work, play, live, learn and pray. We must get all stakeholders in the community at the table. The focus is on population health and increasing opportunities for healthier living.

After a networking lunch, the crowd participated in an afternoon pick-me-up by Sharon Antoine-Dixon, a Certified Zumba Instructor. This set an energized tone and a call-to-action for the nine breakout sessions that followed. A networking reception rounded out the day, and it was great to see the enthusiastic attendees stay after a full day of collaborative learning and sharing. View photos of the conference, and please keep in touch with our progress, on our website and by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

The Grantee Blog publishes a different NJHI-supported community’s update every week. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.
Beth J. Milton
Rutgers University