January 2003

Grant Results

SUMMARY

From 1992 to 2000, four grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) — two to the Institute for Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University and two to Caucus Educational Corporation — provided:

  • Production funding for 14 health care programs broadcast from 1992 through most of 2000 on public television's "Caucus: New Jersey," an award-winning public affairs series. "Caucus" is broadcast from two public television affiliates — Thirteen/WNET (PBS) in New York and NJN-Public Television in Trenton, N.J. — and several cable stations to an estimated 9 million homes.
  • Partial support for "One-on-One," a health-related interview program produced in 1999–2000.

Key Results

  • The first grant (ID# 018985, to Rutgers) supported a special, multipart installment of "Caucus" entitled "New Jersey's Health Care Crisis." In three half-hour programs that aired in 1992–93, the series examined how three issues of national consequence — long-term care, preventive medicine and access to health care — were being addressed in New Jersey. (See Appendix 1 for details.)
  • The second grant (ID# 019974, to Rutgers) supported four half-hour installments of "Caucus" that explored New Jersey's changing health care system, including the effects of managed care on both patients and physicians and the trade-offs involved in state-based reform. The Medical Society of New Jersey also funded this miniseries, broadcast in 1994. (See Appendix 2 for details.)
  • The third grant (ID# 032917, to Caucus Educational Corporation) supported four half-hour installments of a "Caucus" miniseries called "Informed Choices." These programs were broadcast in 1998 and explored changes in the delivery of health care in New Jersey, including the increasing responsibilities placed on patients in their roles as consumers and decision-makers under managed care. (See Appendix 3 for details.)
  • The fourth grant (ID# 036291, to Caucus Educational Corporation) supported three more installments of the "Caucus" miniseries "Informed Choices" and provided partial support for seven in-depth half-hour interviews with various health experts for the grantee's new TV series entitled "One-on-One," carried on commercial cable outlets reaching New Jersey, parts of New York State, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

    In 2000, "Caucus" won an Emmy award, as did its program host. (See Appendix 4 for details.)

All of these RWJF grants supported educational outreach efforts that involved distributing selected "Caucus" programs after broadcast to approximately 200 high schools for classroom use. (See Appendix 5 for details.)

The "Caucus" series is currently broadcast to an estimated 9 million homes from two public television affiliates — Thirteen/WNET (PBS) in New York and NJN-Public Television in Trenton, N.J. "Caucus" also is broadcast over several cable stations and can be seen by viewers in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.

Based on average weekly Nielsen ratings for the PBS broadcasts of "Caucus" (cable broadcasts are not subject to these ratings), the producers estimate that the series was seen by up to 1 million viewers during the 1997–98 television season. Caucus Educational Corporation's new "One-on-One" series was broadcast five times a week on CN8-Comcast Network and Cablevision to 3.6 million potential viewers in New Jersey, parts of New York State, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Funding
RWJF supported this project through four grants totaling $342,525.

 See Grant Detail & Contact Information
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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Public Television Series on New Jersey Health Care Issues

Grantee

Rutgers, The State University, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research (New Brunswick,  NJ)

  • Public Television Series on New Jersey Health Care Issues
    Amount: $ 41,547
    Dates: February 1992 to February 1993
    ID#:  018985

  • Television Series on Health Care Issues in New Jersey
    Amount: $ 50,000
    Dates: February 1994 to January 1995
    ID#:  019974

Grantee

Caucus Educational Corporation (Bloomfield,  NJ)

  • Health Care Series on Public Television's "Caucus: New Jersey"
    Amount: $ 100,052
    Dates: November 1997 to October 1998
    ID#:  032917

  • Amount: $ 150,926
    Dates: August 1999 to July 2000
    ID#:  036291

Contact

Stephen Adubato
(973) 233-9890
talkcaucus@aol.com

Web Site

http://www.caucusnj.org

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APPENDICES


Appendix 1

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Results of Grant ID# 018985

RWJF's first grant to the Institute for Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers supported a special three-part installment of "Caucus" entitled "New Jersey's Health Care Crisis." The series examined how health issues of national consequence were being addressed in New Jersey; the programs aired during the 1992–93 television season.

  • The first part in the series focused on chronic illness and long-term care. This program began with a mini-documentary about the long-term care needs of elderly people and those with chronic illnesses such as AIDS and cancer. Studio guests — including a university medical director, a state official and a representative from a private research organization — then discussed the condition of long-term care facilities in the state, the range of chronic and long-term care options available in New Jersey and the cost and quality of care. (October 1992)
  • The second part focused on health education and preventive medicine. This program explored efforts to reduce medical costs and raise the level of public health through better health education. Studio guests — including a health policy expert and professor at Columbia University School of Public Health, an HMO medical director and the designer of the stress management component of the Johnson & Johnson employee wellness program — discussed the need for prevention and wellness programs. Guests also reviewed a pending legislative bill that would mandate insurance coverage of preventive health care such as mammograms and Pap tests. (October 1992)
  • The third part focused on cost and insurance coverage and their impact on access to health care. The documentary segment of this program followed a patient through a hospital stay from admission to release and highlighted the actual hospital bill's charges to show sources of payment and how the money was spent. The studio discussion that followed included health care professionals and administrators, insurers, public officials and New Jersey patients and residents. (October 1992)


Appendix 2

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Results of Grant ID# 019974

RWJF's second grant to Rutgers supported four half-hour installments of "Caucus" that explored New Jersey's changing health care system by highlighting the effects of managed care and the trade-offs involved in state-based reform. Development of the series coincided with the 1993–94 national debate over the Clinton administration's proposed health care plan. RWJF provided the majority of the financial underwriting required to produce the series; the Medical Society of New Jersey provided the remainder. The installments aired from July through November 1994.

  • "Those Who Stand and Wait: Access to Health Care" began with a mini-documentary on how New Jersey's health care system serves poor residents as well as those who are uninsured or underinsured. The documentary focused on innovative ways of providing care and was followed by a studio discussion with four health care professionals and administrators. (July 1994)
  • "Drugs and AIDS: The Deadly Connection" began with a mini-documentary that profiled two families with members who had contracted HIV as a result of intravenous drug use. A roundtable discussion with professionals in the fields of AIDS treatment, prevention and research followed the documentary and focused on possible solutions to the problem of illegal drugs and AIDS. (August 1994)
  • "Health Care: The Bottom Line" looked at innovative models of care that control short- and long-term health care costs in New Jersey. The studio discussion centered on an evaluation of managed competition — a term the producers said many people supported but did not entirely understand, as well as the ethical implications of cost controls and health care rationing. (November 1994)
  • "The New Physicians" examined the medical profession in New Jersey and how it was being affected by the rapid expansion of managed care. In the mini-documentary, "Caucus" looked at the medical training program at St. Peter's Medical Center. Following the documentary, four physicians discussed changes in health care funding and how managed care was affecting their own practices. (November 1994)


Appendix 3

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Results of Grant ID# 032917

RWJF's third grant funded Caucus Educational Corporation to produce four half-hour "Informed Choices" installments of "Caucus." The programs addressed changes in the delivery of health care as well as the responsibilities increasingly placed on patients in their roles as consumers and decision makers under managed care. All four installments aired in October 1998.

  • "Care and Caring at the End of Life" followed up on findings from the Study to Understand Prognoses and Preference for Outcomes and Risks of Treatment (SUPPORT), a major clinical study conducted on the care received by seriously ill and dying patients, which was funded by RWJF. (See Grant ID#s 029190, 030168, 031083, 031101 and 031241 and Grant Results on ID#s 027301 and 029469.) This "Caucus" program began with a mini-documentary featuring the Karen Ann Quinlan Center for Hope Hospice. Then, physicians, health care experts and families that have lost loved ones to long-term illness discussed pain management, end-of-life treatment options and physician-assisted suicide.
  • "Smoke-Free Kids" examined the ways that higher cigarette prices, enforcement of laws barring cigarette sales to minors, elimination of cigarette vending machines and restrictions on image advertising affect teen smoking rates. The program began with a mini-documentary on the towns of Ridgewood and Little Ferry, N.J., which have passed smoking bans for minors. The studio discussion that followed focused on the reasons young people smoke and offered possible solutions to the problem.
  • "Good Health, Good Choices" focused on media coverage of health-related issues and the individual's role in health promotion. The program began with a profile on the work of two medical reporters: Carol Ann Campbell, medical writer at the Bergen Record of Bergen, N.J., and Karen Hasby, medical reporter at WPIX-TV. The mini-documentary followed both reporters through a typical day and talked with them about the research and preparation for reporting medical stories.
  • "Doctors and Patients" explored how recent technological advances and the rise of managed care have affected the ways doctors and patients relate to one another. Both the mini-documentary and the studio discussion featured physicians, patients, managed care representatives and other health care professionals.


Appendix 4

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Results of Grant ID# 036291

The fourth grant supported three new half-hour installments of the "Caucus" miniseries "Informed Choices." The programs were intended to increase the audience's knowledge about the health care marketplace. All of them aired in 1999.

  • "Choosing a Doctor" used a mini-documentary segment featuring a migraine sufferer who had seen dozens of specialists for her condition to demonstrate ways an informed patient can search for and screen potential physicians. The program was followed by a half-hour studio discussion that included this patient, a patient advocate and doctors from two prominent medical schools.
  • "To Treat or Not to Treat" examined treatment options for a number of common medical conditions, and how patients might determine whether they are making the right choices. A mini-documentary segment featured patients discussing treatment options with their physicians. The studio portion of the program featured two medical specialists: an RWJF vice president and a patient advocate. Their discussion attempted to shed light on the fact that treatment options may vary greatly for the same condition depending on a host of factors such as location, insurance carrier, hospital and physician.
  • "Health Care for an Aging Population" addressed itself to the health care system's handling of the projected increase in elderly consumers, expected to continue through the 21st century. The mini-documentary looked at long-term care options such as assisted living facilities and at new long-term care insurance offerings. Studio guests included a geriatrician, a nursing home director, a home safety specialist and a long-term care insurance consultant.

In addition, this grant provided partial support for seven half-hour installments of "One-on-One," a new series produced by Caucus Educational Corporation. Each installment pursued important health care topics in greater depth through an interview with a single health expert. For example, one program featured a discussion about patients' rights, with advocate Paul Armstrong, who talked at length about the complexity of end-of-life issues and the need for patients to prepare advance directives for their physicians and family members.

Another "One-on-One" program featured a discussion with Hilda Templeton, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry at New Jersey's Saint Barnabas Medical Center, about treatments for individuals suffering from anxiety or depression. Templeton also addressed new treatments for mental illness and the criticism that has arisen over the increased use of such medications as Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft. The interview series received additional support from the Saint Barnabas Health System of New Jersey, the CIT Group, Schering-Plough Corporation, First Union National Bank and Public Service Electric and Gas Company.


Appendix 5

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Outreach Initiatives

All RWJF grants partially supported two educational outreach initiatives that accompanied the television programs. Programs were edited for classroom use and distributed along with a teacher's guide, which included a program summary, discussion and research questions and a glossary of terms.

Project staff convened an advisory board for the initiative called Caucus in the Classroom. The board was composed of 10 New Jersey educators, who selected the RWJF-funded "AIDS and Drugs" program for inclusion in Caucus in the Classroom, and a classroom video and teacher's guide were produced from that half-hour program. During the 1997–98 academic year, 200 New Jersey high schools participated in the Caucus in the Classroom initiative.

Caucus Educational Corporation developed a second educational outreach initiative in 1997, toward which grant ID# 032917 provided $20,000 of support. The producers of "Caucus" said many television reporters had an inadequate understanding of complex social and medical issues and that their confusion often got passed along to viewers.

The corporation's Smart Media initiative sought to minimize that confusion by teaching viewers, particularly young people, the skills for better understanding the information they receive from television. "Caucus" sponsored a series of media literacy workshops across the state led by Steve Adubato to help teachers and high school students watch television more critically. Smart Media is now a subprogram of the Caucus in the Classroom initiative.

In 1999–2000, Caucus Educational Corporation distributed videos of all of the "Informed Choices" programs produced that year to approximately 200 high schools in the state, along with a resource packet of information from organizations with expertise on the relevant issues.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Reports

Berlin B and Murphy M. "Caucus in the Classroom: Drugs and AIDS: The Deadly Connection." Teacher's guide — including a program summary, discussion and research questions and a glossary of terms — to Caucus in the Classroom videotape. Newark, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, 1994.

World Wide Web Sites

www.caucusnj.org, Caucus Educational Corporation, Bloomfield, N.J.

Audio-Visual Materials

Caucus: New Jersey: "New Jersey's Health Care Crisis," three half-hour television broadcasts available on videotape. Newark, N.J.: Rutgers University, aired on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJN–Public Television, October 1992.

Caucus in the Classroom: "Drugs and AIDS: The Deadly Connection," a 27-minute videotape edited for classroom use and available to New Jersey high school and college teachers. Newark, N.J.: Rutgers University, 1994.

Caucus: New Jersey: "Those Who Stand and Wait: Access to Health Care," a 27-minute television broadcast available on videotape). Newark, N.J.: Rutgers University. Aired on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJN–Public Television, July 1994.

Caucus: New Jersey: "Drugs and AIDS: The Deadly Connection," a 27-minute television broadcast available on videotape. Newark, N.J.: Rutgers University, aired on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJN–Public Television, August 1994.

Caucus: New Jersey: "Health Care: The Bottom Line," a 27-minute television broadcast available on videotape. Newark, N.J.: Rutgers University, aired on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJN–Public Television, November 1994.

Caucus: New Jersey: "The New Physicians," a 27-minute television broadcast available on videotape. Newark, N.J.: Rutgers University, aired on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJN–Public Television, November 1994.

Caucus: New Jersey: "Care and Caring at the End of Life," a 27-minute television broadcast available on videotape. Newark, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, aired on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJN–Public Television, October 1998.

Caucus: New Jersey: "Doctors and Patients," 27-minute television broadcast available on videotape. Newark, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, aired on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJN–Public Television, October 1998.

Caucus: New Jersey: "Good Health, Good Choices," a 27-minute television broadcast available on videotape. Newark, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, aired on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJN–Public Television, October 1998.

Caucus: New Jersey: "Smoke-Free Kids," a 27-minute television broadcast available on videotape. Newark, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, aired on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJN–Public Television, October 1998.

Caucus: New Jersey: "Choosing a Doctor," a 27-minute television broadcast available on videocassette. Newark, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, taped August 1999, broadcast September 1999.

Caucus: New Jersey: "Health Care for an Aging Population," a 27-minute television broadcast available on videocassette. Newark, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, taped August 1999, broadcast September 1999.

Caucus: New Jersey: "To Treat or Not to Treat," a 27-minute television broadcast available on videocassette. Newark, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, taped August 1999, broadcast September 1999.

One-on-One with Julie Goldman (Parts I and II), a 54-minute cable broadcast available on videocassette. Caucus Educational Corporation, taped on location, broadcast September and November 1999 and February 2000.

One-on-One with Paul Armstrong, a 27-minute cable broadcast on the Comcast Network available on videocassette. Union, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, taped April 1999, broadcast April, May, June, July, August and September 1999 and January, July and August 2000.

One-on-One with Annette Catino, a 27-minute cable broadcast on the Comcast Network available on videocassette. Union, N.J.: Caucus Education Corporation, taped June 1999, broadcast July, August, September and December 1999 and February and April 2000.

One-on-One with Hilda Templeton, M.D., a 27-minute cable broadcast on the Comcast Network available on videocassette. Union, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, taped June 1999, broadcast July, August, September and December 1999.

One-on-One with Marion Fritsch, a 27-minute cable broadcast on the Comcast Network available on videocassette. Union, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, taped June 1999, broadcast July, August, September and November 1999 and February 2000.

One-on-One with Dottie Rains, a 27-minute cable broadcast on the Comcast Network available on videocassette. Union, N.J.: Caucus Educational Corporation, taped

September 1999, broadcast October and November 1999 and February and June 2000.

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Report prepared by: Gregory Hall
Report prepared by: Elise C. Miller
Reviewed by: Patricia Patrizi
Reviewed by: Janet Heroux
Reviewed by: James Wood
Reviewed by: Robert Crum
Program Officer: Marc Kaplan
Program Officer: Ann Christiano

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