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For Release:
October 29, 2009

Heather Howard

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DHSS Awards $125,000 in Grants to Help Minority Communities Manage Chronic Disease


New Brunswick – New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Commissioner Heather Howard announced today that the state has awarded five community and faith-based agencies $25,000 each to expand a program that helps individuals in minority communities better manage their chronic diseases.  Commissioner Howard made this announcement during a roundtable discussion on eliminating health disparities with grantees, held at New Jersey Women and AIDS Network in New Brunswick.


Agencies that received funding will expand New Jersey’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP). 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.


“Many New Jersey residents need help dealing with challenges posed by obesity, asthma, diabetes and other chronic health conditions,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “Disease management and prevention programs, like the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, are critical to helping residents maintain a high quality of life and reduce their health care costs.”


 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 agencies awarded CDSMP grants are: 


  • The South Asian Total Health Initiative (SATHI) – Based at the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, SATHI focuses on addressing the health concerns of New Jersey’s South Asian population.
  • Hope House (Catholic Social Services of Morris County) – Will implement the program in senior housing sites located in Dover, NJ.  
  • NJ Women and AIDS Network (Middlesex County) - Provides HIV services for African-American women and will use grant funding to conduct workshops at community based organizations and implement the CDSMP for both African-American men and women over age 40.
  • AtlantiCare Foundation (Atlantic County) - Provides health and social services and will work with churches to implement the program among African American and Latino communities.
  • University Correctional HealthCare (Essex County) - Provides medical and mental health services for the incarcerated population and will implement the program in 13 prisons throughout the state.


This is the third consecutive year grant funds were made available to expand the CDSMP in minority communities.  CDSMP workshops are held once a week for six weeks in community settings.  Individuals completing a master trainer program taught by Stanford University staff are charged with recruiting, training and monitoring peer leaders who lead the classes in their communities.  Workshop participants learn strategies for managing their 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.  Three years later, collaborations with state and local partners have resulted in an infrastructure that can now provide workshops in all of the state’s 21 counties.  More than 1,400 people have participated in workshops statewide.  


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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