Jul 24, 2023 Children’s Specialized Hospital Awarded Inclusive Healthy Communities Grant from NJ Department of Human Services to Drive Inclusive Safety Education

Funding propels safety education to advance injury prevention for people with disabilities

New Brunswick, NJ (July 24, 2023) – Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH), an RWJBarnabas Health facility and part of the Children’s Health network at RWJBarnabas Health, has been awarded $250,000 from the New Jersey Department of Human Services (NJDHS) Division of Disability Services as part of the Inclusive Healthy Communities (IHC) Grant Program to help expand the hospital’s Living Safely with Disabilities and Special Health Needs initiative. Through a partnership among disability advocates, organizations, agencies, and caregivers, this initiative focuses on equity, and functionality within safety education and injury prevention.

CSH will implement Learn to Live Safely with Disabilities and Special Health Needs, embedding inclusive and accessible education and practices within New Jersey academic and municipal systems with a focus on under-resourced communities.

Learn to Live Safely continues the hospital’s ongoing collaboration with Rutgers University by partnering with their graduate interprofessional programs to develop a model educational curriculum based on the inclusive and accessible tenets of Living Safely. “With a steadfast commitment to empowering individuals and promoting equitable access, Learn to Live Safely seeks to advance sustainable policy, systems, and environmental change, creating conditions that promote health, well-being, and inclusivity for all,” said Keara McNair, Doctoral Capstone Coordinator at Rutgers University.

Centered on learning and participation, this initiative introduces accessible safety lessons in special education transition programs, educates and empowers emergency responders about sensory and communication challenges; educates and involves disabled residents about emergency preparedness, and expands access to Living Safely education through New Jersey public libraries.

Children’s Specialized Hospital partners with disabled advocates throughout this work to support meaningful inclusion and sustainable safety outcomes for people with disabilities. “As a to-be participant in this project, and as a person living with significant mental illness, I love how people with various special needs are not only an integral part of the discussion in this project, but indeed the driving force,” said Michael Loberfeld, disability advocate. “Many of the other self-advocates involved have special needs that are different in nature than my own. We all contribute our perspectives. I am impressed and uplifted that even the drafting of the proposal for the grant has been a completely collaborative process, with ideas and language drawn from all of the self-advocates, including myself.”

“Learn to Live Safely is a unified effort that will have ongoing benefits for all residents, including those with disabilities and those in historically marginalized communities,” said Adrienne Robertiello, Specialized Health Care Educator, Children’s Specialized Hospital. “We envision sustainable and inclusive change by strengthening specific safety processes in under-resourced communities and educational institutions, and developing a model to empower other community members and establishments to enhance inclusive, safe behaviors.”

First launched in January 2021, the IHC Grant Program is an initiative spearheaded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Disability Services to support communities and ensure the voice, needs, and safety of individuals with disabilities are included in healthy community planning. The grant program is available to nonprofits, and local county or municipal government agencies.

For more information, safety tools, and resources, visit the Children’s Specialized Hospital Living Safely Online Center for Safety at www.rwjbh.org/cshlivingsafely.

About Children’s Specialized Hospital
Children’s Specialized Hospital, part of the Children’s Health network at RWJBarnabas Health, is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children and young adults from birth to 21 years of age facing special health care challenges – from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to a full scope of developmental, behavioral, and mental health concerns. At 15 different New Jersey locations, our pediatric specialists partner with families to make our many innovative therapies and medical treatments more personalized and effective so each child can reach their full potential.

About RWJBarnabas Health Children’s Health Network
As New Jersey’s largest academic health system, RWJBarnabas Health is the state’s most comprehensive children’s health network offering an unmatched range of pediatric services, from primary care to specialized treatments and therapies.
Our vast network of child-friendly facilities and pediatric specialists includes four acute care children’s hospitals across the state. Our team takes a multidisciplinary approach to each child’s unique health needs with a total of 692 pediatric inpatient beds across the system and 18 pediatric primary care locations going beyond clinical interventions addressing specific care needs at the appropriate developmental, physical, emotional, and psychological levels of each child.

In partnership with Rutgers Health, RWJBarnabas Health Children’s Health network provides advanced research, teaching, social impact initiatives, and outstanding care to improve the health and well-being of every child in every community.

About Rutgers Health
As New Jersey’s academic health center, Rutgers Health takes an integrated approach to educating students, providing clinical care and conduction research, all with the goal of improving human health. Aligned with Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Rutgers Health includes eight schools, a behavioral health network and four centers and institutes. Clinical partners include Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, University Hospital in Newark and other affiliates.

Contact: Megan Granozio