New Jersey Health Initiatives
New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI), a statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, supports innovation and drives collaboration across sectors to build healthier communities through grantmaking in the State of New Jersey. To that end, NJHI provided access to PolicyMap to its grantees to better identify and address factors that influence health.
“One of the most important tools communities can have to inform their decisions around health improvement is good data. In communities across NJ, there is not always capacity to access, compile and analyze data in a timely way to inform decisions. PolicyMap is a tool that gives our grantees the opportunity to look at local level data across numerous variables to not only uncover the causes of some critical health issues, but better articulate these issues to community stakeholders and residents.”
Grantees of New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) work in cross-sector collaboratives to address diverse challenges across the state, arising from factors known to affect health, with the goal of creating long-term, lasting change that allows everyone the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. NJHI recognized that, to drive long-term change in outcomes, its grantees needed data related to the social determinants of health in their communities.
In 2019, NJHI provided PolicyMap to 10 of NJHI’s grantees as a resource to better inform decisions that could lead to improved health outcomes. NJHI has since expanded the PolicyMap program to 50 coalition teams.
By making PolicyMap available to 10 of its grantees through its Communities Moving to Action initiative, NJHI aimed to foster and inform cross-sector work in cities across New Jersey. Working with community stakeholders to address factors that are known to influence health, such as early childhood development, housing, nutrition, and the built environment, with PolicyMap the 10 grantees could better assess the challenges they needed to address. Each of the 10 grantees was able to provide 10 coalition team members with PolicyMap access, as well, to facilitate collaboration on solving the communities’ health-related challenges. As an example, a coalition could provide PolicyMap access to a partnering healthcare organization, housing agency, child development organization, and food delivery non-profit to strengthen the team’s development of a comprehensive strategy for addressing health outcomes related to issues of housing or food access. With data from PolicyMap already available in each of these areas and others, this valuable resource that NJHI provided can advance planning and collaboration among the coalition teams.
With the success of this endeavor, and with the current urgent need for data related to at-risk populations due to COVID-19, NJHI has expanded the PolicyMap program from 10 grantee coalition teams last year, to 50 coalition teams in 2020, via a new access website. PolicyMap is thrilled to be a part of this very important program, and to help serve as a facilitator and connector with each coalition working to improve health outcomes throughout New Jersey.