Developing a Culture of Health in Camden
Dr. Brenner Advocates for ‘An Outbreak of Health and Well-Being’
Camden community leaders, convened by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), shared their vision for a “Culture of Health” in the city at a forum on May 7. The event was part of a multi-city series of RWJF-sponsored events focused on envisioning and creating a Culture of Health across the United States.
During a moderated panel discussion, Jeffrey C. Brenner, MD, executive director of the Camden Coalition, described the Coalition’s efforts to move towards a Culture of Health in the city by reducing hospital visits by the most complex patients and re-aligning the health care system to better meet their needs.
“We are wasting a whole lot of money on disorganized care for the most complex and sickest patients,” Brenner said. “Ultimately, sustaining a Culture of Health is going to require thinking differently about how we spend our money. We hope to cause an ‘outbreak of health and well-being’ through better care coordination and engagement models for the sickest patients. Then we can take that money and free it up to work upstream.”
Camden Mayor Dana Redd spoke about her role in creating a Culture of Health as the city’s lead elected official. “Part of my job is to help break down silos, and make sure that everyone gets a spot around the table, collaborating with the city and with each other to help make healthy choices available.”
Brenner and Redd were joined by four other leaders helping develop a Culture of Health in Camden: Kim F. Fortunato, JD (director of Healthy Communities for Campbell Soup Company), Joseph Conway, EdD, MA (founder, Camden’s Charter School Network), Anthony J. Perno, III, Esq. (CEO of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership), and Donald F. Schwarz, MD, MPH, MBA, director, RWJF.
In addition to the moderated panel, the forum included presentations from a number of community stakeholders who are building a Culture of Health across numerous sectors, including health care, social services, transportation, public health, housing, and business development:
- Patricia DeShields, CEO, Project HOPE
- Paymon Rouhanifard, superintendent, Camden City School District
- Ana Ramos, NJ food access coordinator, The Food Trust
- Karen Talarico, executive director, Cathedral Kitchen
- Valeria Galarza, co-director, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids – Camden
- Pilar Hogan-Closkey, executive director, St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society
- Raymond Lamboy, executive director, Latin American Economic Development Association, Inc.
- Elsa Candelario, executive director, Hispanic Family Center of Southern NJ, Inc.
- Matt Norris, South Jersey coordinator, Tri-State Transportation Campaign