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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
September 07, 2005

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Gretchen Michael
(609) 984-7160

Commissioner Promotes "Healthy Communities for a Healthy New Jersey" Campaign at Community Events Statewide; September is Minority and Multicultural Health Month


As part of Minority and Multicultural Health Month, the Department of Health and Senior Services is participating in a month-long series of heritage festivals, health fairs and cancer screenings aimed at encouraging New Jersey residents -- especially members of minority communities -- to lead healthier lives.

New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D. launched the Healthy Communities for a Healthy New Jersey campaign during a press conference today in Perth Amboy at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development.  The month-long campaign is a cooperative endeavor between public and private agencies and focuses on reducing racial, gender and ethnic health disparities in the state of New Jersey.

"As Commissioner, I understand the core mission of the Department is to reduce health disparities in minority and culturally diverse communities in New Jersey," said Commissioner Jacobs.  "Throughout the month of September I will be traveling the state to personally take this message to New Jerseyans: we can and we will improve the health of our minority communities."

Acting Governor Richard J. Codey declared September 2005 as Minority and Multicultural Health Month in a proclamation on September 1.  New Jersey is one of the country's most diverse states with regard to ethnic, racial, cultural, gender, linguistic and economic characteristics.  More than two million residents speak a language other than English in the home.

DHSS encourages New Jersey residents to participate in health events this month to educate themselves about how to make healthy choices.  Activities people may want to participate in include scheduling doctor visits, getting regular exercise, eating healthy and nutritious meals and getting screened for diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, HIV/AIDs and other diseases which disproportionately impact minority communities. 

The DHSS publishes a free calendar of Minority and Multicultural Health Month events statewide and it is available at no cost to legislators, community groups and participating organizations to help promote events.  It is also available online at

To stress the importance of Healthy Communities for a Healthy New Jersey, Commissioner Jacobs will attend more than a dozen events throughout the state this month including health fairs, heritage festivals, cancer screenings, wellness tours and the NJ Latino Bike Tour Kick-Off. 

"Despite our state’s wealth and economic prosperity, there are vast and increasing differences in the incidence, prevalence and death rates of diseases between whites and minority populations in this state," stated Commissioner Jacobs.  "That is unacceptable, and I am taking that message directly to the people in communities affected most."

The Commissioner's campaign will culminate with the first annual statewide asthma summit on Sept. 30 in E. Windsor, NJ. The summit will bring together health care professionals and leaders of New Jersey's community health centers to discuss best practices in asthma treatment and promising approaches to eliminate disparities.

Also attending the Kickoff today are representatives of each health fair and facility the Commissioner will visit, Lydia Trinidad of PRAHD, Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas and State Senator Joseph Vitale.

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