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Passaic County Health Coalition gets $640,000 to improve health of low-income Paterson residents | Paterson Times

Passaic County Health Coalition gets $640,000 to improve health of low-income Paterson residents

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The Passaic County Health Coalition received $640,000 from the Nicholson Foundation to expand initiatives to improve health of low-income Paterson residents.

Passaic County Health Coalition, a collaborative effort between St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center and a network of local organizations, has identified a list of needs the funds will assist in addressing:

  • Lack of access to primary and preventive care for many of Paterson’s residents.
  • Health disparities experienced by Paterson’s residents with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and HIV.
  • Substance misuse and mental health disorders which contribute to poor health outcomes.
  • Limited access to oral health care, particularly for those who cannot pay out of pocket for services.
  • Limited housing and transportation options.
  • External factors such as unstable families, crime, gangs, and a lack of structured recreational programs for Paterson’s youth directly and negatively impact on the quality of life in the community.
  • High rates of pre-term deliveries and neonates born with complex health conditions.
  • Disproportionate rates of hunger, food insecurity, and obesity among Paterson’s Latino population.

“The City of Paterson is an extremely complex, poor, and ethnically diverse community with some of the most challenging health problems in the state,” Charlene Gungil, co-chair of the Passaic County Health Coalition (PCHC) and director of the Passaic County Health Department, said. “Making improvements to overall health will take a dedicated group of community organizations focused on the neediest patients.”

The Passaic County Health Coalition includes St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Eva’s Village, Straight and Narrow, Harbor House, Paterson School District’s Pediatric Clinic, the Paterson Department of Health and Human Services, and the Passaic County Department of Health.

This membership grouping will be expanded to include other local groups to increase reach of the program.

“Our model of community-based partnerships brings a wide range of stakeholders together to promote healthy behavior, improve access to primary and preventive care, and reduce health disparities,” Kevin Slavin, chairman of the PCHC and president and chief executive officer (CEO) of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, said in a statement on Wednesday. “We are thankful for the support from The Nicholson Foundation to expand the PCHC into a thriving and sustainable community coalition focused on improving the health of the Medicaid population, with a particular focus on high-need, high-utilizing individuals.”

Grant funds will allow the coalition to staff their organization and establish a community advisory board. It will also conduct a survey of community resources to develop interventions to address unmet health needs of the city’s underserved.

“Community-based coalitions like the PCHC help coordinate a wide range of health and related social services for the safety-net population,” Maureen Deevey, senior program officer with the Nicholson Foundation, said. “We have been impressed with the commitment of the coalition members to work together to build a robust organization to better meet the health-related needs of Paterson’s low-income residents.”

“This award will allow the Passaic County Health Coalition to drive meaningful health improvements for residents and their families in a coordinated way,” New Jersey Health commissioner Cathleen Bennett said.

New Jersey Department of Health supports the efforts of the Passaic County Health Coalition.