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Q&A: NJPHK’s Deputy Director Darrin Anderson Shares Highlights from the 2016 NJPCA Conference

November 2, 2016 | Community News, Community News and Media

Dr. Darrin Anderson, was a speaker at the New Jersey Primary Care Association’s (NJPCA) annual conference on September 28 – 29, 2016 in Atlantic City, NJ. The conference theme was “Boardwalk to Better Health” and showcased the various components of healthcare that make up the high quality, affordable and integrated array of services that New Jersey’s 130 healthcare delivery sites provide through the state.

Dr. Anderson’s topic was “The Story Behind Community Health Centers.”  Below is a Q&A regarding his presentation:

How many community health centers are located in NJ?

There are currently 23 community health centers in the state of New Jersey.

Why was it important to talk about community health centers?

There a two great reasons. First, community health centers are at the center of individual, public, and population health. Second, they have a federal charge to provide care to all – those who have no insurance, those who are under insured, and those who choose not to access a large hospital. These centers are the epitome of health in urban and rural communities.

How important are health centers to local communities?

Health centers are critical. Many times, people with no insurance use the hospital emergency room as their primary care facility which increases costs for health care providers and charity care.

Whom do they serve?

Health centers are typically located in lower-income communities because of the need for affordable healthcare. These health centers decrease the burden in communities by seeing everyone including citizens who are underinsured, migrant workers, and even immigrants who are coming to this country will get seen and provided with services and health care.

What were some key points you hoped conference attendees took away from your session?

  • Remember the importance of what we do – What we do has an impact, it’s not just a job or a convenience. We’re there to serve the community and improve the overall health of every community we touch.

  • Health centers are the center of community health – Being in the center means that you are equally distant from every aspect of the community. I wanted attendees to remember that health is a focal point of any community.

  • Health work is not about being seen as a hero – If you’re looking to be a celebrity or gain recognition, this profession is not for you. However, you can go home and say, ‘I made an impact on someone’s life today.’ What you do has a significant impact on others, beyond what you know and what you can see.

How many individuals attended your session?

About 400 people.

What were some highlights of the overall conference?

Miri Ben-Ari came and played at the conference! She is both a Grammy-award winning hip-hop violinist and a social justice advocate. Part of her mission is the want to invigorate and foster change in communities. I, fortunately, got to meet her and took a picture with her and her manager, which was cool. Another big highlight was seeing the NJPCA acknowledge and recognize someone from each community health center because it takes a village to impact a community. From physicians to office workers to the custodial staff – it was beautiful to see people who may sometimes get overlooked get the proper appreciation they deserved. Also, seeing the passion that the community health centers have for the work they do and learning that New Jersey is in the upper echelon of care in the nation was great to hear. We care about the work that we do and knowing it positively impacting lives is the greatest fact of all.

For up-to-date information about the leadership and events for the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, please visit the new website –

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