Health Experts Help Inform New Jersey Decision-Makers

Forums on health and health care issues for New Jersey policy-makers

From 1997 to 2000, the Forums Institute for Public Policy continued to conduct the New Jersey Policy Forums on Health and Medical Care, an ongoing series of forums on public policy issues regarding health and medical care.

The institute—a nonprofit, nonpartisan entity located in Princeton, N.J.—also published summaries of each forum and developed a website (no longer available) that contained information on the program.

The Project: The policy forums convene politically neutral series of meetings of state health policy makers and stakeholders such as legislators, representatives of the governor's office, and private groups. The meetings are designed to facilitate the exchange of ideas, to provide time to debate issues, and to offer consideration of balanced information about health policy and medical care issues. Each forum features presentations by nationally recognized experts in the field of health policy.

The New Jersey Policy Forums on Health and Medical Care was formerly called Capitol Forums on Health and Medical Care and was administered by the New Jersey League of Women Voters. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) began funding the policy forums with a 1992 grant (ID# 020375) and maintained support via two renewal grants (ID#s 023198 and 023538). 

The success of the forums led to the 1997 formation of institute to administer the policy forums and the development of an RWJF national program (ID# 036490) entitled the State Forums Partnership Program, a program that seeks to replicate the program in other states. The institute also serves as the national program office for the State Forums Partnership Program.

Key Results: During this grant, the institute carried out the following activities:

  • Project staff conducted 13 policy forums on a range of health care issues, including the funding of charity care in New Jersey, public oversight of managed care, mental health policy in a managed care environment, and health information confidentiality.

    Altogether, the forums featured 43 speakers, including researchers, public and private agency directors, and the CEOs of both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Approximately 75 participants attended each of the invitation-only meetings.

    Organizations regularly represented at the forums included the Governor's Office of Policy and Planning, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, and the New Jersey State Nurses Association. Institute collaborated with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services on the forum entitled Healthy New Jersey 2010.
  • Project organizers did research and then wrote and published an issue brief for each of the 13 forums to provide a summary of the history and key matters under discussion at each meeting.

    Prior to each forum, they disseminated the briefs to 600 in-state and 200 out-of-state individuals and organizations. Topics included health care policy trends in the third millennium; the New Jersey KidCare program, a health insurance program for the state's uninsured children and teens; and the health of New Jersey's communities in 1999.
  • The institute convened two leadership-training workshops for state government employees.
  • With supplementary funding from a Parke, Davis & Company grant of $40,000, project staff held a one-day training session called Principle-Centered Leadership on July 21, 1998, in Trenton, N.J. The institute contracted the Franklin Covey Group of Provo, Utah—developers of the Seven Habits of Successful People program—to run the session. The session was attended by 47 state employees representing 15 state departments and one person from the governor's office.
  • With supplementary in-kind support of approximately $80,000 from the New Jersey region of American Express Financial Advisors, project staff held a training session called Situational Leadership July 7–8, 1999, in Trenton, N.J. Seventeen state government employees representing 11 state departments attended the session.
  • With the assistance of New Jersey Institute of Technology, project staff completed development of institute Web site. The site contains general information about the policy forums, gives the dates of upcoming forums, displays the text of the most recent issue briefs, and offers an archive of past briefs.

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