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Healthier Somerset’s Bound Brook and South Bound Brook Initiative Meets with Community

Healthier Somerset’s Building Bridges to Better Health – Bound Brook and South Bound Brook Initiative (BBBI) leadership team gathered community leaders this Spring to share community findings, gather ideas for strategies for action, and engage support and participation in moving forward to build a Culture of Health.

Serena Collado, Community Health Director of RWJUH Somerset and Healthier Somerset convener, opened the meeting with an overview of the Initiative and explained how Leadership Team members were selected, as well as the decision to choose Bound Brook and South Bound Brook for this work. The remaining Leadership Team members – Erica Vasquez of American Lung Association; Kevin Sumner of Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission; Maria Strada of Middle Earth; Daryl Minch of Rutgers NJAES; and Dan Puntillo, team coach – were introduced as well.

As project director, Serena identified additional potential partners for our work of building healthier Bound Brook and South Bound Brook communities. This will be done by working with members of both communities to identify underlying health needs and issues, creating a Blueprint for Action and engaging the community to facilitate change.

In the Spring gathering community stakeholders participated in a visual explorer exercise to help articulate their vision of a healthy community

Jeanne Herb, Associate Director of Rutgers University’s Environmental Analysis and Communications Group, and our coalition’s consultant, presented the findings of the community health needs assessment and outlined the process of collecting feedback. Five themes emerged as community priorities:

  • An expansion of school-based programming;

  • Improved communication about current resources and programming;

  • The creation of free/low cost programming at local, trusted sources;

  • The integration of health into decision-making at a policy level; and

  • Developing enhanced transportation options.

Participants then rated these themes on importance and posted ideas about strategies to achieve the goals. After a group discussion, Erica Vasquez facilitated a visual explorer exercise and asked all participants to choose two pictures from a group of images that exemplified their vision of what a healthy community would look like.

The Spring session closed on a high note, with community members expressing their enthusiasm for this project and identifying potential partners for our coalition. Request information and share your feedback by contacting Serena Collado here.

The Grantee Blog publishes a different NJHI-supported community’s update every Monday. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.


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