Reducing health disparity among New Jerseyans is an overarching goal of the
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS).
Health disparities are defined as significant differences between one population and another.
The Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000
these disparities as differences in "the overall rate of disease incidence, prevalence,
morbidity, mortality or survival rates." There are several factors that contribute
to health disparities. Many different populations are affected by disparities
including racial and ethnic minorities, residents of rural areas, women, children,
the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
Healthy New Jersey
Healthy New Jersey 2010: A Health Agenda for the
First Decade of the New Millennium
was planned in the late 1990s and released in June, 2001.
Following the federal Healthy People 2010
Healthy NJ 2010 established the elimination of disparities in health outcomes based on race
and/or ethnicity as one of its two overarching goals, the other being increasing the quality
and length of healthy life. To that end, every objective that is measured based on individuals
has data and targets for each race/ethnicity for which data were available at the
time the baselines were established in 2000. In many cases, data systems were not collecting data
by race/ethnicity or were collecting a limited set of races/ethnicities (e.g., White, Black,
and Other). Also, for some objectives, the number of events for a particular
racial or ethnic group was too small to calculate a reliable rate. As data collection systems
have improved their race and ethnicity data collection and as some racial/ethnic populations
have increased in New Jersey, more data have been added to Healthy NJ 2010 as can be
seen in the Healthy New Jersey 2010 Update
published in May, 2005. The Center for Health Statistics also produced a report specifically
addressing health disparities called
Healthy New Jersey 2010: Assessing Progress by Race and Ethnicity
in July, 2008.
Healthy NJ 2010 objectives will continue to be tracked as
within the NJSHAD system.
In 2007, NJDHSS released its Strategic
Plan to Eliminate Health Disparities in New Jersey
. The plan set a targeted agenda
for the reduction of health disparities among minority populations. One of the goals
was to standardize the collection and reporting of race/ethnicity data across the Department,
so the Center for Health Statistics was charged with creating coding guidelines
for the collection and dissemination of race and ethnicity data by programs
within NJDHSS. The resulting guidelines were published in December, 2007,
in a document titled
Race and Ethnicity Coding Guidelines for the New Jersey Department of Health
and Senior Services and its Grantees
. Consistent with the
1997 OMB-15 directive
it provides a description of the mutually exclusive race and ethnicity categories and also
provides guidance on how to collect data on primary language spoken in the home.
The Guidelines establish the gold standard by which all NJDHSS race and ethnicity data should
be collected and disseminated.
Newest New Jerseyans
of the Newest New Jerseyans: A Resource Guide
updates health care providers statewide
on the health status and behaviors of New Jersey's growing foreign-born population. The report
includes important demographic information and geographic trends related to this population;
compares select health outcomes and behaviors of state residents by race/ethnicity and
nativity status; and examines the impact of duration of U.S. residence on foreign-born
Data addressing Health Disparities in New Jersey
Leading Health Indicators
- As a group, the
Leading Health Indicators from Healthy People 2010 reflect the major health concerns
in the United States at the beginning of the 21st century.
Births and Deaths
Data related to race and ethnicity for these conditions are available at their respective websites.
Behavioral Risk Factors
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
includes data related to arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular health, cancer screening, diabetes,
diet and exercise, health care access and coverage, immunizations, overweight and obesity,
substance use, and more.
Information about Health Disparities in New Jersey
- NJDHSS' Office of Minority and Multicultural Health
is leading the effort to reduce and eventually eliminate the gaps in health status between
New Jersey's minority and multicultural communities and in the state as a whole.
- NJDHSS' Division of Family Health Services
administers programs that enhance the health, safety and well-being of families and
communities in New Jersey, including programs addressing
and child health
as well as chronic diseases such as
asthma and diabetes which disproportionately affect some miniority groups.
Black Infants - Better Survival (BIBS) initiative addresses the high infant
mortality rate among Blacks as compared to Whites.
- Cultural Competency
among health professionals means respecting and adapting to different attitudes, expectations,
beliefs and communication styles among diverse populations.
- Occupational Health and Workplace Safety
includes information on OSHA, Right to Know, workplace injuries, hazardous exposures, and more,
as well as several documents in Spanish.
- Senior Nutrition Programs:
Promising Practices for Diverse Populations is a directory of programs intended to bridge
the cultural divide and offer assistance to seniors of all backgrounds,
including those with limited English skills.
Information related to race and ethnicity for these conditions are available at their respective websites.