By Amy Yuen

2018 ushered in exciting developments at the Camden Coalition: the arrival of our new CEO Kathleen Noonan, expanded partnerships across traditionally siloed sectors, new resources for organizations interested in cross-sector data collaboration, and more. Amid these advances, our highest priority remains the same: empowering our patients with the skills and support they need to address their complex health and social needs. With 2019 just around the corner, let’s take a look at five top stories that defined our year at the Camden Coalition.

  1. Our new CEO Kathleen Noonan reflects on what’s ahead for the Camden Coalition
    In March, we welcomed Kathleen Noonan, co-founder of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as our new CEO. Within her first 100 days, Kathleen outlined five priorities for the Coalition’s future. Her vision focuses on building our strengths as an innovator in data management and analysis as well as clinical redesign while honing our whole-person approach to care coordination. It also prioritizes creating robust partnerships across silos to advocate for policy change and better coordinated care.

    “We should continue to push the field of complex care and the knowledge of what it takes to treat and care for patients who don’t just have medical issues, but also have very difficult social issues. That requires looking across boundaries to really help them — care coordination without walls.”

    Read her interview.

  3. Addressing addiction at the Camden Coalition
    With the rise in public awareness around opioid use disorder across the country, many people have asked us if the Camden Coalition has a specific intervention that addresses opioid use. Our answer: All of our interventions address opioid use. For more than a decade, we’ve been providing intensive, community-based care management to residents with multiple chronic illnesses, many of whom have struggled with addiction. We innovate and customize our interventions to meet people where they are. Christine Keck, a pregnant mother who was homeless and struggling with opioid use disorder when she joined our Camden Delivers program, spoke about her journey toward recovery:

    “I had someone in my corner to help navigate the things that are ignored and forgotten during active addiction. If programs like Camden Delivers were expanded and given funding, we would see the rates of homelessness, addicted newborns, and overdoses decrease; ERs not being misused; and employment increase.”

    Read more about how our interventions address opioid and other substance use disorders.

  5. Camden RESET brings our core intervention inside Camden County jail
    People who have recurring histories of hospitalization and incarceration rarely have all their needs assessed and addressed. To understand the challenges they face and help them become as healthy as they can, the Camden Coalition has been developing innovative partnerships across the criminal justice, healthcare, and social services sectors. Camden RESET brings our nationally-recognized core intervention to Camden County jail inmates like Vincent. Vincent, known to his friends as “Country”, had been struggling with homelessness, behavioral health, and chronic medical conditions for nearly 20 years. Bill Nice, our Program Manager for Innovation Operations, recalled his first meeting with Country:

    “He knew he needed to stay stable on the mental health medications that have worked well for him, and that he needed housing. He said, ‘I really want to do this. I’m older now. I don’t want to be out on the street. I feel I have other ways I can contribute to those experiencing similar issues if I’m stable.’”

    Read more about how RESET helped Country address his chronic illnesses and social barriers to good health, and learn how we’ve formed innovative partnerships across the criminal justice, healthcare, and social services sectors.

  7. New resources give how-tos for cross-sector data collaboration
    Sharing data between multiple sectors like behavioral health, medical, criminal justice, housing, and education seems like a straightforward way to better understand a patient’s complex needs. But in practice, it isn’t always so simple. That’s why our National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs produced a series of webinars and briefs to explore successful strategies in cross-sector data collaboration that have worked for organizations across the country. As our Director of Action Research and Evaluation Dawn Wiest explained:

    “Figuring out how to share data with organizations outside of a single field can be perplexing. We put this series together to help demystify some of the elements that make cross-sector data sharing successful.”

    The webinars and briefs cover these topics:

    Read more about these useful and practical resources, produced with the support from the Aetna Foundation.

  9. “Battling for my life”: A patient story
    As the Camden Coalition advances our projects with valued partners and continues to spread knowledge about our findings in complex care, we’ve stayed focused on our highest priority: helping our patients address their complex health and social needs. Charlie Vazquez’s story underscores why this work matters. Our complex care intervention helped Charlie get his chronic illnesses under control after years on and off of heroin and in and out of jail, and connected him to the legal, social, and medical supports he needed. It also gave him the opportunity to reconnect with our Community Health Worker Brian Thompson, an old friend who had previously struggled with addiction alongside Charlie. Charlie described what it was like working with Brian and our care team:

    “They just stood by me. Brian has helped me more than anything. He has encouraged me to battle for my life, and every time I talk to him, I tell him, ‘Don’t give up on me.’”

    Now a graduate of our core intervention and a member of our Community Advisory Council, Charlie continues to give voice to his experiences and has shared his story about his health struggles and journey toward recovery and wellness at public forums. This month, he traveled with Brian to the Putting Care at the Center conference in Chicago as a Consumer Scholar. Both spoke about their experiences at a pre-conference hosted by the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership about the role of legal services in complex care practices. Read Charlie’s story.

    In 2019, the Camden Coalition will continue to deliver better care for the most vulnerable individuals in Camden and beyond, through our signature Camden Core Model and innovative programs like Camden RESET. We’ll continue to push the field of complex care through bold initiatives supported by strong data, cross-sector convening, and shared learning. We’re excited about advancing these projects with our partners throughout the region, state, and country in the coming months.

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