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For Release:
June 28, 2010

Poonam Alaigh, MD, MSHCPM, FACP

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Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

DHSS and NJ Interagency Council on Osteoporosis Honor Osteoporosis Prevention and Education Volunteers and Professionals


Health and Senior Services Commissioner Poonam Alaigh, M.D. and the New Jersey Interagency Council on Osteoporosis (ICO) today announced the winners of the 2010 New Jersey Osteoporosis Prevention Awards.  Certificates of Achievement are presented to dedicated volunteers and professionals annually to coincide with Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. 


          This year’s recipients are:


  • The Consumer Award – Richard Sherman, Millburn, was first a participant, then a peer leader for Project Healthy Bones, a 24-week low-impact exercise and education program designed to decrease bone loss, increase bone density and improve strength, balance and flexibility.  The program is available statewide and has more than 2,000 participants annually.  Mr. Sherman’s dedication and commitment to the Milburn classes and his continuing efforts to ensure people feel a part of the class are appreciated by everyone.  Participants say that they have learned a lot and that they enjoy being in his class.  His willingness to lend expertise and support to classes in Morris County is deeply appreciated.


  • The Professional Award – Nancy L. Hess, CVA, Wharton, is currently the director of Skylands RSVP and Volunteer Resource Center serving Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren Counties.  She has been described as “a treasure, a tireless advocate, and a role model for civic responsibility and involvement.”  Ms. Hess has a long history of supporting bone health initiatives in New Jersey.  Ms. Hess has been a leader in applying for and more importantly receiving grants that have directly impacted the people of New Jersey.  She recognized the need, importance and benefits of Project Healthy Bones to those with osteoporosis and focused her energy, leadership skills and agency resources to expand Project Healthy Bones and other osteoporosis and health programs for older adults.  She is also a master trainer and strong supporter of A Matter of Balance, a nationally-recognized, evidence-based falls prevention program currently being offered in a number of New Jersey counties. 


Osteoporosis, known as the “Silent Disease,” is a serious condition in which bones become thin, brittle and easily broken.  Nearly one million New Jersey residents have osteoporosis or low bone mass (osteopenia) and about 8,000 individuals over age 65 have a hip fracture annually.  In this state, the cost per hip fracture with hospitalization ranges from $18,000-$27,000.  Almost one quarter of those with hip fracture will die within the first year following their fractures.


         Osteoporosis can be prevented through healthy behaviors including a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, weight-bearing exercise, a healthy lifestyle without smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, and bone density testing and medications when appropriate.  Participation in programs like Project Healthy Bones and A Matter of Balance can be helpful in preventing and reducing falls.


The New Jersey Interagency Council on Osteoporosis is dedicated to the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive osteoporosis prevention and education program for the benefit of New Jersey residents.  Award recipients will receive their certificates at a special session of the ICO on June 11th in Lawrenceville.


            For more information on the ICO and Project Healthy Bones, call 609-633-8746, or go on-line to  To find out if there is an A Matter of Balance class near you, call 609-633-8746.


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