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Community Health Champions Honored at 3rd Annual Empower Awards

October 20, 2016

October 2016, Morristown, NJ – Atlantic Health System, a leading non-profit health care delivery system in New Jersey, recognized local organizations, hospital staff and individuals who have gone the extra mile to improve the health of their communities at the 3rd Annual Empower Awards on October 17. The event took place at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown.

“We are honored to recognize the organizations and individuals who are making real change for better health possible in the communities we serve,” said Brian A. Gragnolati, president and CEO of Atlantic Health System. “As we look to improve health care outside of traditional medical settings, our ambassadors and partners who work within our communities are more important than ever to our mission.”Four local organizations that have been dedicated to improving the health of communities in the region were honored with the Community Partner Award:

  • Cornerstone Family Programs (formerly Family Service of Morris County) and the Morristown Neighborhood House, known as the Nabe, joined forces in 2013 and help individuals, families and new immigrants who are confronting economic and other life challenges to build better lives and stronger communities, by focusing on prevention and early intervention. In support of the Morristown Neighborhood House Pre-school and parenting education programs, Morristown Medical Center’s community health department provides dental education to give children the best start in life with their dental health.  “Cornerstone is proud of our partnership with Atlantic Health System to educate our community on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle,” said Patrice Picard, CEO of Cornerstone Family Programs.
  • Interfaith Food Pantry, based in Morris Plains, was formed by local houses of worship in 1994 to consolidate efforts to address the growing issue of hunger in the Morris County area. This non-denominational, non-profit organization is currently distributing more than 15,000 pounds of food to 325 families each week, including senior citizens living on fixed incomes, disabled individuals, low-income wage earners, unemployed workers and families in crisis. For more than a decade, the community health department at Morristown Medical Center has partnered with this organization's Healthy Choices program. “The board, staff and volunteers of the Interfaith Food Pantry are very proud to be receiving this prestigious award from Atlantic Health System,” said Rosemary Gilmartin, Executive Director of the Interfaith Food Pantry. “We share Atlantic Health System’s values and are proud to partner with them to work towards our mutual goals of improving the health and wellbeing of all Morris County residents in need. Together we reach thousands of people who struggle with food insecurity, many of whom are at risk for health issues due to a lack of access to nutritious food and education. By combining the health screenings and other services that Atlantic Health System provides at our site with the nutritious food and information we make available to our clients together we are empowering people to take positive steps toward improving their overall health and making positive changes in their lives.”
  • The New Jersey Alliance of YMCAs is comprised of 41 corporate YMCA associations and 79 branches from across the garden state.  Together, New Jersey YMCAs work together to strengthen the foundations of community to better serve the people of New Jersey by monitoring public policy issues and engaging in advocacy, fostering communication between YMCAs and collaborative partners, and coordinating state-wide initiatives related to youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. For the past two years, the NJ Alliance of YMCAs has been a key partner for collaborative grant-making and shared learning via the Shaping NJ/NJ Healthy Communities Network (NJHCN) Grants, bringing together local, regional, and statewide leaders to support communities in developing healthy eating and active living. This year, the Network awarded $860,000 to 43 organizations, with $325,000 coming from Atlantic Health System. "The NJ Alliance of YMCAs not only is honored to be recognized by Atlantic Health System, but is so gratified to be a partner in the movement to build a culture of health for New Jersey communities,” said William J. Lovett, Executive Director of the NJ Alliance of YMCAs.
  • The Sussex-Warren Chronic Disease Coalition (SWCDC) works to implement the New Jersey Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan in Sussex and Warren County. Newton Medical Center has been a partner of the (SWCDC) since 2012 and several years before that as the Sussex County Cancer Coalition.  The coalition is composed of many local and national community organizations. Workgroups meet to plan and implement programs for lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and melanoma. Partners work with SWCDC to identify and implement programs in the community. This coalition is dedicated to the implementation of evidence/practice based policy, environmental, and system change intervention for chronic disease prevention and control with a focus on cancer.“I appreciate that the Sussex Warren Chronic Disease Coalition was recognized for this Empower Award from Atlantic Health System for their dedication to making Policy, Systems & Environmental (PSE) changes within the region, their collaboration with community organizations, and the high level of quality work they are performing every day,” said Emrick Seabold, Health Officer for the Sussex County Division of Health.

The parent company of Morristown, Overlook, Newton, Chilton and Hackettstown Medical Centers and Goryeb Children’s Hospital also recognized doctors, staff and programs that had an impact in the community.Maureen Cianci, manager of community health for Newton Medical Center, received the Vicki Hughes Community Health Leader Award. Named in honor of Vicki Hughes, the manager for Community Health at Morristown Medical Center who passed away in 2013, this award recognizes an employee in one of the Community Health Departments for their contributions to improve the health of the communities they serve.

Cianci began working at Newton Medical Center in 2008, first as a public health nurse, and then as a member of the community health team. Cianci has worked tirelessly to improve the health of the community - whether it be through health education, connecting people to services, or collaborating on county-wide coalitions.“

Maureen is approachable, and brings health and health education to the community in an easy to understand way,” said Chris Kirk, Ph.D., director of Community Engagement & Health Improvement for Atlantic Health System. “Maureen always advocates for those with the greatest need and makes sure that people's voices are heard.”

Atlantic Health System recognized its Faith Community Health Partnerships with the Innovative Community Program Award. FHCP partners the hospital system with faith communities in Atlantic Health System’s service area to enhance spiritual care and to promote the general health of communities. Beginning as a pilot program at Newton Medical Center in July 2014, it has since grown to include all of Atlantic Health System's medical centers. FCHP offers faith communities training to their volunteer visitors which enhances their ability to provide effective spiritual and emotional support to their hospitalized members and to facilitate visitation by notifying volunteers when one of their members has been admitted or discharged. In addition FCHP works with faith communities to develop health-related ministries that can address the health concerns of their congregations, such as education, health screenings and mental health first aid. To date the FCHP program has recruited 30 faith communities, trained 40 volunteers and supported the visitation of 350 patients. The health care organization also honored three of its physicians who have gone above and beyond to improve health care within the community, especially among underserved populations:

Elizabeth A. Clemente, DDS – As chair of the Department of Dentistry at Morristown Medical Center and director of the General Practice Residency Program and 75 attending physicians, Dr. Clemente oversees the Leonard Szerlip Dental Center. Located in Morristown Medical Center, it is the only place in the region where economically disadvantaged and developmentally disabled patients have access to free dental care. The center sees about 8,000 patient visits a year and performs 24,000 procedures. In addition, under Clemente’s leadership, dental residents have taken dental services into the community for the past three years by participating in the annual Community Healthy Day held in Morristown the second Saturday in September. At the event last year, 65 individuals were screened for oral cancer and 39 were referred for various dental issues.

David Kuo, MD – As the Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program and the Ambulatory Teaching Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Morristown Medical Center, Dr. Kuo strives to develop ongoing training opportunities for residents and other health care professionals.  For more than a decade, he has brought and supervised residents who do screenings at the annual Community Healthy Day held in Morristown on the second Saturday in September.  His skill in diagnosing and treating a large array of ailments and disorders in adults has made his team one of the most popular and highly visited screening areas at this event.  Uninsured individuals with abnormal results are referred to internal medicine doctors for follow-up. At the event in 2015, Dr. Kuo and his team screened 61 individuals for blood pressure and 32 were referred to physicians. Another 20 men were screened for prostate cancer.

Joseph Tribuna, MD – Dr. Tribuna is director of the Overlook Family Medicine Residency Program, and a member of the Overlook Medical Center Performance Improvement Committee. Dr. Tribuna completed his residency in Family Medicine at Overlook Medical Center, where he was chief resident. For many years he has been an active member of the Overlook Medical Center Community Health Committee and an avid supporter of community health programs during residency training.

About Atlantic Health System

Atlantic Health System, headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, is one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey. Atlantic Health System has created a Trusted Network of Caring™.  Our promise to our communities is that anyone who enters our system will receive the right care, at the right quality, at the right time, at the right place and at the right cost. Our network includes Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ; Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ; Newton Medical Center in Newton, NJ; Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, NJ; and Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ, as well as Atlantic Rehabilitation, and Atlantic Home Care and Hospice. It also includes its subsidiary, Atlantic Ambulance Corporation. Atlantic Health System comprises 1,599 licensed beds, more than 14,000 employees and more than 4,000 physicians. Atlantic Health System has a medical school affiliation with the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University; a Major Clinical Affiliate of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; part of Atlantic Accountable Care Organization, one of the largest ACOs in the nation, and is a member of AllSpire Health Partners.
Learn more about our Trusted Network of Caring™ at Atlantic Health System >