During the conference, six interactive workshops presented progress on policy and environmental change strategies that can increase opportunities for healthy eating, wellness and physical activity. Each moderated session featured discussion among experts in the field and enabled the audience to interact through questions, feedback and comments.
Topics, moderators and panel members were as follows:
Workshop A:A Fresh Perspective: The NJ Healthy Corner Stores Initiative overviewed the NJ Healthy Corner Stores Initiative which works with store owners and others in the community to increase access to healthy foods in underserved areas by making those foods available at corner stores. Successes, impacts on the communities throughout NJ and implementation strategies were shared.
Moderator: Corinne Orlando, director of Government Relations for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in New Jersey
Speakers: Marissa Davis, project manager for NJPHK-Trenton; Maria Hollander, M.P.H., manager of National Partnerships, American Heart Association; Miriam Manon senior associate for The Food Trust’s National Campaign for Healthy Food Access; Ana Ramos, New Jersey Food Coordinator, The Food Trust.
Workshop B: Community-Based Strategies to Build a Culture of Health featured exciting strategies being implemented throughout NJ to build healthier communities. Attendees learned about innovative work being done by the NJ Healthy Communities Network and how communities became engaged.
Moderator: William J. Lovett, executive director at the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance.
Speakers: Ernest Bryant, executive director for East Orange, YMCA; Steve Jobin, president and chief executive officer of Raritan Bay Area YMCA; Lisa Scheetz, Chief Operating Officer , Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA; Kathy Smith, MA,CHES, program officer at Partners for Health Foundation
Workshop C: Community Health and Urban Planners – Stronger Together! Highlighted how choices made by decision makers at the state, regional and local levels have had tangible impacts on the health of citizens. Health and planning practitioners are finding common ground in implementing projects and policies that address healthy behaviors, the built environment and quality of life.
Moderator: Leigh Ann Von Hagen, AICP/PP, senior research specialist at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center and the NJ Health Impact Collaborative Rutgers
Speakers: Charles Brown, MPA, senior research specialist, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) and adjunct professor, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers; Atif Nazir, MS, Health Officer, Township of Irvington Health Department; Darleen Reveille,R.N., Senior Public Health Nurse, Garfield Health Department; Laura Torchio, AICP, program coordinator for Eat, Play Live…Better.
Workshop D: The Crossroads between Clinical and Community Prevention Efforts showed how hospitals are critical partners to ensuring that communities remain strong, vibrant and healthy. Attendees learned how hospitals across the state are working in partnership with their communities on innovative ways to improve population health and to sustain change through a variety of coordinated efforts and resource-sharing strategies.
Moderator: Maria Mera, project manager for the New Jersey Hospital Association/HRET at NJHA.
Speakers: Laura Engelmann, CSW, MHA, health educator for AtlantiCare; Chris Kirk, PhD, Director, Community Health, Atlantic Health Systems; Joshua Rosenblatt, MD, Chair, Department of Pediatrics and Director, Academic Affairs, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center; John Slotman, Vice President, Graduate Medical Education (GME) Policy and Teaching Hospital Issues, New Jersey Hospital Association.
Workshop E: Proven Strategies that Promote Health and Wellness in Youth and Adults focused on the infrastructure for obesity prevention that is being implemented as well as the many promising practices being implemented across the state, including promoting healthy food retail sales in WIC-authorized corner stores. Discussion ensued around creating health nutrition and physical activity environments in early care and education centers, urban school districts and diverse communities.
Moderator: Peri L. Nearon, MPA, Director, External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives for Community Health & Wellness for the Division of Family Health Services, NJ Department of Health.
Speakers: Michelle F. Brill, MPH, Family and Community Health Sciences/educator/assistant professor Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; Alexandra Grenci, MS, RD, LDN,CDE, Family and Community Health Sciences educator/associate professor, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Hunterdon County; Janet Heroux, Obesity Prevention Specialist for the Community Health & Wellness Unit of the New Jersey Department of Health/Juliet Jones, BSW,MBA, coordinator, Early Care and Education Learning Collaborative Initiative for the NJ Department of Health/ Kathleen T. Morgan, PhD, Professor and Chair, Family & Community Health Sciences Department, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Rutgers University.
Workshop F: Translating Equity into Policy and Practice explained how residents in rural areas, low-income communities and communities of color are most affected by limited access to healthy options, making it difficult to make healthy choices. The focus of the discussion was on how to design strategies that address inequities and to learn how to enhance your organization’s capacity to advance healthy equity through policy and practices.
Moderator: M. Carolyn Daniels, M.Ed., DHSc, Executive Director, Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, NJ Department of Health.
Speakers: Niiobli Armah IV, MA, Director, NAACP Health Program; Cara Johnson, MS, Technical Advisor, Healthy Living for the YMCA of the USA.