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Thanks for Making Building A Culture of Health in New Jersey Conference A Success! See You Next Year!

December 9, 2016 | Community News, Community News and Media


The New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (NJPHK) co-hosted the Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey: Advancing the Population Health Agenda Conference on Wednesday, November 30th at the Pines Manor in Edison, N.J.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 63% of adults and nearly one in four children ages 10-17 in New Jersey are overweight or obese placing them at increased risk health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. — chronic illnesses that were in the past associated with adults instead of children.

Anderson Kicks Off Conference


NJPHK’s Deputy Director Dr. Darrin Anderson kicked off the event attended by more than 400 public health professionals, social workers, educators, dieticians, and community leaders from across the state. This year’s conference had the largest attendance ever!

Bronzan Shares RWJF Greetings


Nicole Collins Bronzan, Communications Officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided an inspirational greeting on behalf of RWJF and reiterated the Foundation’s commitment to investing in the health of New Jerseryans. “For RWJF, everything is health, and health is everything,” stated Collins Bronzan. She invited attendees to participate in the CatchafireNJ initiative which connects their nonprofit organizations with passionate professionals eager to donate their skills.

Commissioner Bennett Defines Population Health


New Jersey Commissioner of Health, Cathleen Bennett provided the audience with a simple definition of population health. “Population health is making sure we come together from all walks of life to do what we need to do to keep New Jerseyans well,” stated Bennett. “It’s taking those that are at risk and making sure we educate them so that the risk doesn’t come to fruition.”  

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Gives Enlightening Keynote Address


This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions; a prominent Washington, DC-based social change nonprofit agency dedicated to making policy work for people and their environments. Rockeymoore also directs Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) dedicated to helping state and local elected and appointed officials advance policies that support healthy eating, active living and childhood obesity prevention (click here for a detailed bio).

During her keynote address, Dr. Rockeymoore enlightened the audience with her discussion about The Inclusion Revolution; Advancing a Health Equity Agenda for the Nation.  “When it comes to public health and equity, our nation has a double standard,” stated Rockeymoore. “If we want America to continue into the future to be a nation that is great with an economy that is expansive and inclusive for our children, we cannot let these double standards continue.

10-Year Old Joshua Pantoja Inspires Audience


Attendees also heard from 10-year old Joshua Pantoja Jr., who discussed how his participation in the NJPHK’s Healthy Family Weekend cooking class inspired him to make healthier choices and become a contestant on the Food Network’s Chopped Junior show earlier this year.

Local experts led morning and afternoon workshops on a variety of public health topics including: early childhood obesity prevention, food access, behavioral health, hospital/community partnerships, contributions of school nurses, and national equity. 

Culture of Health Champions Recognized for Outstanding Efforts

During the conference, Culture of Health awards were presented in recognition of organizations and individuals who are committed to creating changes that surround kids and families with opportunities to make healthy choices. The 2016 award recipients were:


Rutgers University




Joshua Pantoja, Jr.

Joshua receiving award

Darrin Anderson, deputy director of New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (left), and Marissa Davis, project director for New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton (right), present Hamilton, NJ resident, 10-year old Joshua Pantoja, with the Healthy Kids Champion Award for his commitment as a youth advocate, as well as his passion for helping his family and friends make healthier choices. Earlier this year, Joshua appeared as a contestant on the Food Network’s Chopped Junior program.


Thanks to Our Conference Sponsors!

The conference was co-sponsored by the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, New Jersey YMCA State Alliance; American Academy of Pediatrics, New Jersey Chapter; New Jersey Health Initiatives; Shaping NJ; New Jersey Department of Health; and Get Moving – Get Healthy New Jersey, Dept. of Family and Community Health Sciences.

COMING SOON: The majority of conference presentations will be available shortly on the Guidebook app.


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