June 2017, Union Township – In an effort to better understand the health needs of the communities it serves, Atlantic Health System will begin a series of community-based events designed to meet with and hear directly from members of the community in a casual setting.
The first of such events - a barbecue – will take place on Saturday, June 17, from 10:00am to 2:00pm, at the Golden Lodge, located in the Vauxhall section of Union Township, one of the target communities selected by the organization. The event is free and open to the public, featuring food and drinks, as well as free blood pressure and blood glucose screenings.
The new, community-based initiative evolved from data generated by the 2016 Atlantic Health System Community Health Needs Assessment. The study identified preventable chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, as pressing health needs throughout northern New Jersey.
Though these preventable diseases are top health issues at the county level, data from the study showed that the impact of these issues is spread disproportionately among different communities within those counties. Research has shown that social, economic and physical characteristics can make it easier or harder for residents of each neighborhood to be healthy and stave off chronic conditions.
“While the data from this report are valuable in helping us respond to our communities’ needs, we wanted to hear directly from people who live there,” said Chris Kirk, Director, Community Engagement and Health Improvement for Atlantic Health System. “Through these events, we are hoping to gain first-hand insight into what the people living in our communities see as obstacles and opportunities to better health.”
By compiling Emergency Department utilization data from throughout Atlantic Health System and relying on poverty and demographic data from the United States census, as well as stakeholder interviews, Atlantic Health System selected specific communities that have a greater number of health needs, including Vauxhall, as well as sections of Morristown in Morris County, Wayne in Passaic County and Franklin Township in Sussex County. Atlantic Health System will work with municipal and public health officials on a long-term basis to determine how to enhance the health of these communities.
“Collaborating with Atlantic Health System and other community partners will be a great step in helping to assess and address the health needs of our community,” said Union Township mayor Suzette Cavadas. “We’re excited to help kick off this initiative, and we invite anyone from the community to join us for good food and a fun event where we can share and learn from one another.”
Cavadas and other township officials will join Atlantic Health System at the event in addition to Freeholder Vernell Wright, and Kim Eason, Chairman of the Vauxhall Concern Citizens Organization. Community partner organizations will also be present, including South Mountain Rehabilitation, the Community Health Clinic at Vauxhall, Shoprite of Union, North Jersey Collaborative, UTCAO organization- Vauxhall, and Walgreen’s Pharmacy- Vauxhall.
About Atlantic Health System
Atlantic Health System, headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey, is a leading non-profit, clinically integrated health care system comprised of Atlantic Medical Group with more than 900 physicians and multispecialty care providers, medical centers, rehabilitation and urgent care. Atlantic Medical Group had more than 1.2 million patient visits in 2016. Locations include 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; Hackettstown Medical Center in Hackettstown, NJ; and Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ, as well as Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute, and Atlantic Home Care and Hospice. It also includes its subsidiary, Atlantic Ambulance Corporation. Atlantic Health System comprises 1,747 licensed beds, nearly 16,000 employees and more than 3,700 physicians. Atlantic Health System has a medical school affiliation with the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University; is part of Atlantic Accountable Care Organization, one of the largest ACOs in the nation, and is a member of AllSpire Health Partners.