(Camden, NJ) — The South Jersey Institute for Population Health (SJIPH) hosted a “Sandbox” event at the Joint Health Sciences Center on Friday, allowing 12 teams of researchers from Rutgers University-Camden, Rowan University and various local nonprofits to present and workshop proposals for research projects related to population health challenges in southern New Jersey. SJIPH will allocate more than $250,000 in grant funds for a variety of research projects that will address and enhance population health in South Jersey.
Attendees observed and connected with academics and community organizations working in fields related to population health in southern New Jersey. They were able to watch small teams advance their projects in collaboration with an expert facilitator. The “Sandbox” event created a space for the needs of individual communities to intersect with higher education.
“We are extremely excited to see this first round of funding opportunities get underway and for the growth of the innovative South Jersey Institute for Population Health to really begin. And when I say ‘we,’ I am speaking on behalf of the institute’s leadership, oversight committee, logistical team and the incredible facilitators,” Dana Redd, CEO of the Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors told those in attendance Friday. “The mission of the institute is to advance collaborative, community-engaged research that improves health and promotes health equity across southern New Jersey. The theme for today’s event is partnerships and projects in the spirit of collaboration and the discovery of knowledge leading to stronger, healthier and more resilient communities.”
The funded projects are related to health and health equity, and cover a wide range of populations including infants, mothers, adolescents, LGBTQ individuals, adults with intellectual disabilities, recently incarcerated individuals, housing insecure populations, food insecure populations and drug users. The projects target the cities of Camden, Glassboro, Salem and Atlantic City, along with several southern New Jersey counties. The projects cover an array of content including program implementation, mapping impact of drug use, youth soccer programs, digital equality, perinatal depression, vaccine hesitancy, health needs assessments, housing in Camden, food policy, data integration and the effects of COVID-19 on mental health.
Friday’s event encompassed faculty from Rowan, Rutgers-Camden, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Drexel and Stockton, and community partners including: Revive South Jersey, Bridgeton PAL, Inspira Health Network, Drive Consulting, Family Resource Network – Center on Nutrition and Disability, Camden City Public Housing Authority, Cooper University Healthcare, South Jersey AIDS Education and Training Center, C.R.O.P.S: Communities Revolutionizing Open Public Spaces, Camden County Correctional Facility, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Hopeworks, Strategic Billing Enterprise, Gloucester County Health Department, Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, Jefferson Washington Township Hospital, CGS Family Partnership, National Association for the Dually Diagnosis and Partners in Health.
The South Jersey Institute for Population Health is focused on advancing collaborative research projects to improve health and wellbeing in southern New Jersey. The institute focuses on population health in South Jersey by addressing health disparities among underserved populations in both urban and rural communities. It develops and deepens the network of relationships among the many entities, from schools and nonprofits, to government agencies and hospital networks, that work to improve health in the region. By supporting collaborations between this network of community stakeholders and the research expertise at Rowan University and Rutgers University-Camden, the institute lays the groundwork for a robust research and data resource that can inform population health programs, research and policy needs in the future.