Tending Our Backyard: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Grantmaking in New Jersey

Chapter 8

In To Improve Health and Health Care, Volume XV, Pamela Dickson, assistant vice president for health care, takes a look back at a previous chapter from this series she wrote in 2002.  Then a senior program officer, Dickson wrote that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has funded programs and people in the New Brunswick area and throughout New Jersey ‘‘in part to honor the legacy of its founder, and in part to recognize the special responsibilities to the communities and the state in which it is located.’’

In the decade since ‘‘Tending Our Backyard: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Grantmaking in New Jersey’’ was published, the Foundation has maintained its charitable giving in New Jersey, but has adjusted it so that it is more strategically focused on important health issues. Perhaps the clearest example of this reorientation is the New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI). 

NJHI projects have been designed to:

  • Address behavioral issues confronting young men who are at risk for substance abuse, gang involvement, and dropping out of school;
  • Improve patients’ transitions of care from one facility to another (for example, from a hospital to a nursing home); 
  • Develop community needs assessments and implement health improvement plans through collaborations among hospitals, health departments, and other community agencies;
  • Build the capacity of community-based organizations serving vulnerable population groups, including members of historically underrepresented groups and low-income individuals;
  • Combat teen dating violence; and 
  • Strengthen the health literacy of new immigrants.

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