Irvington Health Coalition Addresses Barriers through Community Collaboration

NJHI 2015: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action Addressing Social and Economic Factors Toward Building a Culture of Health

As the Irvington Health Coalition (IHC) enters into another season, we are excited for the opportunity to continue building and connecting the leaders, partners & community members of Irvington, New Jersey and surrounding towns to help bring awareness to the quality of life issues that this great township faces.

During the summer, our Quality of Life Committee and the Irvington Public Schools piloted our first unified youth Olympic Games. Teams from each school within the district participated in field sports while being encouraged by a host of parents and supportive seniors. We fulfilled our goal of using sports to engage both typically developed students and students with physical disabilities, and to facilitate interaction between these two groups to reinforce the importance of activity among youth.

The “404 Garden,” a community garden in the East Ward of the Township, celebrated its grand opening this summer, thanks to a partnership that includes the Irvington Health Department, Irvington Health Coalition, and the Foundation for Sustainable Development. Among those who attended the garden’s launch were members of the Irvington Senior Center, Mayor Tony Vauss, Councilperson At-large Dr. October Hudley, Councilman Vern Cox and Director of Health Dr. Monique S. Griffith, in addition to the Irvington Fire Department and the Irvington Police Department.

While providing necessary resources to residents, our coalition emphasized the importance of community partnerships to impact health.

Residents within the Greater Newark area had an opportunity to participate in the Sustainable Health & Wellness Village held at Lincoln Park. While providing necessary resources to residents, our coalition emphasized the importance of community partnerships to impact health. By engaging community partners such as the Irvington Health Department and many healthcare providers, residents were able to access health seminars, health screenings and educational packets on diabetes, HIV testing, cancer, men’s health, and lead awareness, all geared toward promoting health literacy.

Rounding out our summer schedule, Mayor Tony Vauss and our Environmental Committee hosted an evening forum to address the community’s environmental concerns including pest management, illegal dumping and neighborhood maintenance. During the meeting, Township administrators and residents discussed the value of partnership in the effort to address these concerns. Residents were provided with strategies that they can implement to maintain private areas of the Township while the administrators discussed strategies they are employing to maintain the public areas. This phase of work supports our plan to build a healthier Irvington by addressing our community’s physical environment and environmental quality, among other factors. Browse our full Blueprint for Action and contact our project director, Dr. Monique Griffith, to connect with our coalition.

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Karen "Chazi' Moore
IHC Outreach