South Jersey Institute for Population Health Awards $230,000 in Microgrants to Impactful Projects

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Camden, NJ) – Members of the South Jersey Institute for Population Health gathered Tuesday to award a total of $230,000 to various organizations for research projects related to population health challenges in southern New Jersey. These projects will have an oversized impact on improving and enhancing the quality of life for residents in the region.

“Achieving health equity and eliminating healthcare disparities is the direct aim of this effort,” said Michellene Davis, acting chairwoman of the Joint Board. “Partnerships like this one are essential to ensuring a higher quality, culturally competent healthcare delivery system for across the region and we could not be more delighted.”

The Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors Chief Executive Officer, Dana Redd, talked about the impact these grants will have on the community.

“The mission and objective of these grants is to make South Jersey a better, more equitable place,” Redd said. “We will be getting these funds into the hands of scientists that will be making a difference in our community and enhancing the overall quality of life for our friends and neighbors.”                      

The 11 projects that were selected 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 individuals with substance use disorders.

“One goal of the grants is to create a network of scientists and communities that can promote health throughout Southern New Jersey,” said Rutgers Camden Provost Dan Hart. “Working together, research universities and municipalities, we can improve the welfare of citizens throughout our region.”  

The projects target the cities of Camden, Glassboro, Salem and Atlantic City, along with several southern New Jersey counties.

“We are looking forward to these inaugural projects serving as a catalyst for more research in Southern New Jersey,” SJIPH Co-Lead Sarah Allred said.

The projects cover an array of content including program implementation, mapping impact of drug use, digital equality, perinatal depression, health needs assessments, housing in Camden, food policy, data integration and the effects of COVID-19 on mental health.

“Working toward health equity in the region is critical and these projects will address a myriad of topics and populations that have been underrepresented in research,” SJIPH Co-Lead Nicole Vaughn said.

Projects that were approved for funding are:

  • A resident-centered subsidized housing resource
  • South New Jersey panel data for the improvement of health equity
  • Trauma informed education for youth
  • Snack, chill and chat for individuals with intellectual disabilities
  • Legislating digital healthcare access: disparities in broadband internet use for older adults
  • Status of transgender and non-binary identifying individuals in southern New Jersey
  • Community-based bone health intervention with direct parental involvement
  • Improving opioid use disorder treatment retention after release from incarceration
  • Use of a food policy audit to assess food system resilience and fresh produce access in Atlantic City
  • Southern NJ perinatal population health data hub

“We are excited to be part of this collaborative effort to address the complex public health issues plaguing the South Jersey cities researchers will focus on,” said Rowan University Provost Tony Lowman. “Each community may have their own distinctive challenges, but this comprehensive, collaborative approach will uncover common issues and solutions to the thorniest of problems.”

“ There is so much work to be done to advance equitable population health in the urban and rural communities of southern New Jersey,” said Annette Reboli Dean of Cooper Medical School at  Rowan University. “This research grant initiative is an important early step on the journey.”