Jordan & Harris Community Health Worker Graduation 2-24-12
(PHOTO CREDITS: Rev. O. Florian Jenkins)

With a festive and heartwarming graduation ceremony for the Jordan & Harris Community Health Worker (CHW) Training Program, the UMDNJ-School of Nursing launched the next phase of its innovative initiative to empower residents of three Newark Public Housing developments to improve their own health and well-being.

The CHW Program was designed to boost the health promotion efforts of the school’s Jordan & Harris Community Health Center by training and employing individuals to serve their neighbors as health advocates and healthcare navigators. The February 24 graduation ceremony, held at the Terrell Homes public housing development, recognized 10 new Community Health Workers who completed 10 weeks of intense training before stepping into their new roles.

UMDNJ-School of Nursing is working closely with UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School to implement the CHW Program, which is partially funded by a grant to the medical school from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. The Jordan & Harris Center is directed by Dr. Cindy Sickora of UMDNJ-School of Nursing and its medical director is Dr. Hosseinali Shahidi of UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.

Last September, UMDNJ-School of Nursing held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Jordan & Harris Community Health Center, which provides onsite services for residents of three Newark Public Housing developments-- Hyatt Court, Terrell Homes and Pennington Court.

Named after two longtime Hyatt Court residents and housing advocates-- Lillie Jordan and Esther Harris McArthur—the Jordan & Harris Community Health Center provides comprehensive preventative and primary care, case management and health education. Services also include home visitation for high needs populations such as expectant and new mothers, the elderly and the infirm.

The Center’s new Community Health Workers will reach out to residents of the three housing developments to perform a range of duties, including:
•Making home visits for follow-up as identified by the Center Coordinator
•Coordinating health and social services for residents as needed
•Identifying community resources for residents and helping to develop a resource directory
•Accompanying residents to doctor’s appointments or other social service appointments
•Assisting with maintenance of healthcare records
•Assisting with health screenings and health education workshops under the supervision of the Center Coordinator
•Accompanying students from various UMDNJ schools on home visits

In addition to its ongoing support from UMDNJ-School of Nursing, funding for the Jordan & Harris Community Health Center comes from an $851,000 start-up grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey provided $135,000 to establish the Community Health Worker program.
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