Fostering Healthy Communities

Monmouth Medical Center is committed to Improving the well-being of Long Branch and Monmouth County residents.

Communities that Care program through the Institute for Prevention and RecoveryHelping young people succeed

Connie Greene, MA, CAS, CSW, CPS, Vice President of the RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery, has dedicated her career to improving the well-being of youth. In the past, her team identified problems, such as drug and alcohol use, in communities and approached key leaders with solutions. Now, for the first time, she is asking communities to determine what problem they need to tackle. “Having buy-in from the community can help programs succeed,” says Greene. Through an evidence-based, national program called Communities That Care, which launched for the first time in New Jersey in May, RWJBarnabas Health’s Institute for Prevention and Recovery aims to prevent substance use, violence, delinquency, school dropouts, teen pregnancy and depression and anxiety.

The Institute is working with leaders in four cities, including Long Branch, to evaluate the risks young people are facing and implement programs to give them the skills and support they need. Leaders in a variety of sectors are involved, including schools, government and treatment agencies. In the first phase of the 10-year initiative, surveys and focus groups will identify the biggest risk factor for Long Branch youth. “Long-term studies show that the program leads to a decline in substance use, school dropouts and suicide,” says Greene.

On May 7, Bill Arnold, President, Southern Region, RWJBarnabas Health; Eric Carney, President and Chief Executive Officer of Monmouth Medical Center (MMC); Long Branch Mayor John Pallone, city council members, the chief of police and superintendent of schools attended the Key Leader Orientation at Brookdale Community College’s Long Branch Center.

Funding affordable homes

funding affordable homes with Habitat for HumanityTo improve the social, economic and environmental conditions that contribute to poor health and reduced life expectancy, MMC is partnering with local organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, in Monmouth County. The hospital recently helped to fund the construction of three new affordable homes in Monmouth County, including two residences currently being built in the Troutman’s Creek neighborhood in Long Branch.

Strengthening local resources

Long Branch Advisory CouncilRWJBarnabas Health aims to not only serve patients who need medical treatment but also to help people thrive in their communities by investing in housing, education, nutrition and employment. To ensure access to such resources, MMC established the Long Branch Advisory Council. The Council includes representatives from faith-based organizations; the Long Branch School District, municipalities and senior centers; Monmouth Family Health Center; local businesses; community members; ethnic groups and the local health officer.

In addition to creating the Council, MMC has been involved with the Shaping Long Branch Coalition since its inception in 2016. The Coalition’s goals are to improve access to healthy food and expand space for healthy activities.

Teaming up for better health

annual breakfast for mayors, committee members and administrators from surrounding townsSince community health is a priority for MMC, the hospital hosts an annual breakfast for mayors, committee members and administrators from surrounding towns. This year, leaders from communities including Atlantic Highlands, Deal, Eatontown, Middletown and Tinton Falls met with MMC’s senior leadership and Board of Trustees members.

Participants discussed community needs and the importance of partnering to improve the health of residents. Healthcare in New Jersey was also discussed. “We welcome the input of local leaders as we work to strengthen the community by offering access to the very best healthcare close to home,” says Eric Carney, President and Chief Executive Officer of MMC.

Job training for atudents with sisabilities

Monmouth County high school students with disabilities have the opportunity to develop important skills that can help them find employment through Project SEARCH, a job-training program. MMC is hosting the students, who spend their days at the hospital instead of their schools.

Students will learn about jobs in various areas, including Volunteer Services, the Emergency Department, Environmental Services and Nutrition Services. The goal for each student is to find a job after completing the program. Seventy percent of Project SEARCH interns who finish their training find long-term employment. For more information, contact Family Resource Associates at www.frainc.org or email employability@frainc.org.

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