Clara Maass Awarded Grant to Implement Health Programs in Bloomfield Churches, Senior Centers

Belleville, NJ - The Center of Excellence for Latino Health (CELH) at Clara Maass Medical Center has received a $23,000 grant from Partners for Health Foundation to implement health education programs and services in Bloomfield churches and senior centers. The goal is to reach underserved and vulnerable populations.

“We are thankful for the generous support received from the Partners for Health Foundation and for the opportunity to enhance our partnership with The Bloomfield Health Department,” said Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Clara Maass Medical Center. “With this grant, the Center of Excellence for Latino Health will be able to expand its footprint to reach even more members of the Latino community and to educate them on various ways to live healthier lives,” Clyne said.

“This is an amazing opportunity for The Center to promote brighter, healthier futures within the Latino community that we serve,” said Sarah Bonilla, MPH, Program Manager of the Center of Excellence for Latino Health at Clara Maass Medical Center.

“As a person of Latina heritage, there are many health issues affecting my community that can be addressed through health education and empowering our community to implement small, but important changes to reverse illness such as selecting healthy food options, modifying portion sizes and including exercise as part of ones’ daily routine. This grant will help The Center to share messages of good health to an even larger segment of our community,” Bonilla said.

Together with the Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services, the Center of Excellence for Latino Health at Clara Maass Medical Center will provide free monthly blood pressure and glucose screenings to 300 Bloomfield residents; establish ministries in churches to offer health and wellness resources; and teach church and senior center members how to access and prepare healthy food. The Center of Excellence for Latino Health also plans to provide bilingual educational materials/cookbooks and offer training on how to use the Internet to find accurate sources of health information.

The Latino population is disproportionately affected by certain conditions and illnesses, including hypertension, pregnancy-associated complications, breast cancer and diabetes. The Center of Excellence for Latino Health partners with local schools, faith-based groups, civic leaders, government agencies and other organizations to help underserved families overcome barriers to healthcare, such as inadequate or no insurance coverage, the high cost of care and the lack of available services.

Studies show that for many cultures, information is better received from individuals they trust and have a relationship with than someone who is unknown. This initiative is intended to motivate church and senior center leaders to inspire their members to adopt healthier lifestyles by serving as role models themselves and providing critical health information and services.

Participation in the program is free, regardless of denomination.

Interested churches and senior centers should call the Program Manager for the Center of Excellence for Latino Health at Clara Maass Medical Center, Sarah Bonilla, MPH at 973-450-2996 or Sarah.Bonilla@rwjbh.org.