Newark, N.J., Brotherhood Health Initiative Seeks to Engage Troubled Young Minority Males in Health Care System

The Brotherhood Health Initiative (BHI) was a program designed to increase engagement with the health care system among young minority males aged 12 to 25 in Newark, N.J. From December 2003 through November 2005, a BHI project team provided intensive case management, peer group support and advocacy to 285 young minority male clients who had behavioral problems such as anger or poor school attendance.

The program operated out of the division of adolescent and young adult medicine of the department of pediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).

In 2006, the project produced and disseminated two DVDs-one for staff of agencies that serve youth and one for parents-that provide information and guidance for working effectively with young minority males.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Jersey Health Initiatives national program.

Key Results

  • All clients improved compliance with appointment-keeping, a measure that has been associated with improved health outcomes.

  • Clients were more willing to participate in peer groups than initially anticipated, and they were more willing to modify their behavior based on peer group discussions.

  • The demand for the development of parent support groups was an unanticipated outcome.