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For Release:
December 15, 2008

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
Linda Nasta

DHSS Awards Grants to Help People with Chronic Disease in Minority Communities


TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has awarded six community and faith-based agencies $25,000 each to expand and sustain a program that helps individuals better manage their chronic diseases.


The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) was developed by the School of Medicine at Stanford University in California and is recognized internationally as a premiere, evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention program.


State funding, made available through the Department’s Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, in partnership with the Division of Aging and Community Services, will be used to train individuals to become master trainers and peer leaders, and to host CDSMP workshops in minority communities throughout the state.


“Everywhere this program has been offered, participants have reported lasting health benefits,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard.  “These grants allow us to bring a health promotion program with proven results into communities where we need to reduce health disparities.”


          The grants were awarded after a competitive review of 16 eligible applicants.  The agencies awarded CDSMP grants are:


  1. Camden Area Health Education Center, Inc., Camden (Camden County)
  2. First Pentecostal Apostolic Mission, Browns Mills (Burlington County)
  3. Hoy Sun Ning Young Benevolent Association of Atlantic City (Atlantic County)
  4. Jefferson Park Ministries, Elizabeth (Union County)
  5. North Jersey AIDS Alliance, d.b.a. NJCRI, Newark (Essex County)
  6. The Partnership for Community Health, Inc., Paramus (Bergen County)


CDSMP workshops are held once a week for six weeks in community settings.  Individuals completing a master trainer program taught by Stanford staff are charged with recruiting, training and monitoring peer leaders who actually lead the classes.  Workshop participants learn strategies for managing symptoms, working with health care professionals, setting weekly goals, problem-solving, relaxing, eating right and exercising safely and easily.


The program has grown dramatically in New Jersey since 2006, when only one person was certified as a master trainer.  Today, New Jersey is home to 38 master trainers, 280 peer leaders have been recruited and 52 workshops have been held in 17 counties. 


This is the second consecutive year grant funds were made available to expand the CDSMP in minority communities.  The focus last year was on African American, Korean and Latino populations.  This year’s focus is on Haitian, Chinese, Polish, Native American, bilingual Latino, African American and Korean communities.  By January 1, 2009, 21 new master trainers will be certified to offer the program in these areas.


Stanford University and Kaiser Permanente validated the benefits of CDSMP in 1996.  Researchers interviewed over 1,000 people with heart disease, lung disease, stroke or arthritis in a randomized, controlled test of the program and followed them for up to three years.  Compared to individuals who did not enroll, many CDSMP participants experienced major improvements in their overall health.  They reported improved ability to exercise, manage their symptoms, and talk with their healthcare professional.  Program participants also reported spending fewer days in the hospital.


More information on CDSMP can be found on the Division of Aging and Community Services’ website at


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