Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guest Commentary: Celebrating National Public Health Week

Jeffrey Brenner, MD

By Rob Simmons, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, CPH
Program Director, Master of Public Health (MPH) Program
Jefferson School of Population Health

This past week Thomas Jefferson University’s School of Population Health, in cooperation with the Jefferson Medical College, Department of Family & Community Medicine, and the Jefferson Center for Inter Professional Education (JCIPE) celebrated National Public Health Week with a lunchtime symposium entitled, “Reinventing Health in One of America’s Poorest Communities: Camden, New Jersey.”

The program featured the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, a non-profit organization committed to improving the quality, capacity, and accessibility of health care to vulnerable populations in an effort to improve their health status and reduce healthcare costs. Serving one of America’s poorest communities, the Coalition's work is dependent on creating complex collaborations amongst three highly competitive hospitals, two local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), and small private physician practices in Camden. Through the Coalition, local stakeholders are working together to build an integrated health delivery model to provide better care for Camden City residents. The group receives funding from local and national organizations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Their efforts have received national recognition through a feature article on January 24, 2011 in the New Yorker by Dr. Atul Gawande.

The presenting team included Jeffrey Brenner, MD, Executive and Medical Director, Kathy Jackson, MSN, Nurse Practitioner, Ana Aningalan, MSW, Social Worker, Kelly Craig, MSW, Social Worker and Director of Care Management Initiatives and Jessica Cordero, Community Health Worker. After an overview by Dr. Brenner of the Camden community and the healthcare issues and barriers facing Camden residents, the team discussed a couple of complex case studies and addressed questions from the audience of 175 population health and health care professionals and students.

Overall response to the symposium was excellent. Participants look forward to additional professional development opportunities provided by Jefferson and next year’s National Public Health Week symposium.

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