Faith in Prevention
Engaging faith and lay leaders to improve health
Our Faith in Prevention program provided faith-based organizations (FBOs) in the Camden area with training and funding to promote health and togetherness in their communities. For many Camden residents, congregations are a main source of social support, education, and information about community resources. The goal of this program was to harness the power of existing faith communities to lower the burden of chronic disease, both at an individual and system level.
Each annual cohort of FBOs selected lay leaders to be trained to deliver the Faithful Families, Thriving Communities (previously Faithful Families Eating Smart and Moving More) curriculum to their congregations. Participating FBOs were also granted $3,000-5,000 for creative projects to promote the health of their congregations and communities. These projects included:
- Fruit and vegetable gardens
- Walking paths
- Jungle gyms
- Health equipment
- Access to stoves for healthy cooking
- Cooking classes
We want to encourage vulnerable communities in Camden County to adopt healthy lifestyles and nutrition by making powerful connections between their health, faith, and healing.Maritza Gomez
Alumni Faith in Prevention organizations were connected with the Get Healthy Camden initiative, and worked with us to conduct a community assessment on healthy eating and active living.
We also piloted a connection between faith leaders and the Camden Coalition Health Information Exchange (HIE). Congregants consented to have their faith leader notified if they were admitted to the hospital. If a member was hospitalized, their leader received an email notification from the HIE, enabling them to reach out to their congregant and offer assistance.
The Faith in Prevention program continues through other organizations across the state, and is funded by the New Jersey Department of Health.