A1. Community Description: The city of New Brunswick is located in Middlesex County, New Jersey. New Brunswick is the county seat of Middlesex, located in the sixth Congressional District, and part of New Jersey’s seventeenth state legislative district. The city is centrally located between New York and Philadelphia. It is approximately 40 minutes southwest of New York and 45 minutes northeast of Philadelphia. According to the U.S. Census, the total area of the city is 5.789 square miles; 5.227 square miles of land and 0.562 square miles of water. New Brunswick’s climate is humid and subtropical with considerable rainfall throughout the year. There are warm and humid summers and cold winters.
The healthcare industry has played an important role in the city’s economy. New Brunswick has been known as “The Healthcare City” due to its world-class healthcare system and research facilities. It is home to Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a state-designated child’s hospital and regional perinatal center. It is also home to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, one of the nation’s leading academic health centers, and Central New Jersey’s only level I trauma center. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, also located in the city, is the only cancer center in the state that has been designated by the National Cancer Institute as a comprehensive care center. Located in downtown New Brunswick is the state university of health sciences, UMDNJ-Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. It is ranked among the top 50 primary care medical schools in the U.S. Also home to the city is The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital and Johnson & Johnson’s corporate headquarters, which is the world’s sixth largest consumer health company.
A2. Data: New Brunswick residents have widely divergent backgrounds. According to the 2012 U.S. Census, the total population of New Brunswick was 55,181 with 14,119 households and 7,751 families. Approximately 50% of the population is Hispanic or Latino, which is the 14th highest percentage in New Jersey ((Mascarenhas, 2011). The population is also made up of 45.4% White, 16% Black or African American, 7.6% Asian, 0.9% Native American, 25.6% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. The population under age 18 was 21.1%, ages 18-24 was 33.2%, ages 25-44 was 28.4%, ages 45-64 was 12.2%, and age 65 or older was 5.2%.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, the city’s median household income was $44,543 with a median family income of $44,455. Approximately 25.8% of the population and 15.5% of families were below the poverty line. This includes 25.4% under age 18 and 16.9% age 65 and over. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5.2% of the population is unemployed. There was 31.5% of the population without health insurance coverage; 13.7% were under age 18, 43.5% were residents ages 18-64 and employed, and 62.8% were residents 18-64 and unemployed.
New Brunswick’s public schools are one of 31 Abbott districts, ensuring that students are receiving education in accordance with New Jersey’s state constitution. Minority enrollment was 99% with Hispanics making up 82% of that. Percentage of economically disadvantage students, based on data reported to the government, was 77%. New Brunswick high school’s academic performance is significantly behind compared to other high schools in the state (NJ Department of Education). According to the NJ Department of Education, in 2012-2013 there were 62 high school dropouts. The 2012 NJ School Performance report revealed substandard academic results in the high school’s proficiency assessments. According to the NJ School Performance report, the dropout rate was 4% and the high school is meeting 0% of its performance target in graduation and postsecondary measures rate.
To prepare for disasters, New Jersey has a task force on disaster planning and a guide on emergency preparedness, which was developed by The Middlesex County Public Health Department. These provide information that will help residents prepare for and be ready to respond to emergencies without any warning. The county has planned ahead to help protect the safety and well-being of the community by providing a guidebook and a disaster planning guide.
The guidebook provides information on the following: how to develop a family emergency plan, emergency supply kits, pet preparedness, information on shelter, what stations to turn to on the radio and television for notifications, evacuation, emergency preparedness tips, county, state and federal contacts, and other resource contacts and websites for more information. New Jersey has had a plan to reduce effects of a disaster since 1984 which has been re-written in 2011-2012 to form relationships between emergency management agencies and the federal government. The NJ Office of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers resources and programs to help communities with disaster aftermath.
A4. Interpretation: New Brunswick is known as “The Health Care City” and home to world-class healthcare system and facilities. The city, however, has shown evidence in the past of health problems that contradict these resources. Key issues revolve around access to health care, cultural and language barriers, and problems obtaining specialty care, and unmet needs of those with mental health. Problems that contribute include poverty, unemployment, and lack of access to quality health care. There is a high percentage of low-income residents without health insurance coverage and may not own their own cars. Standard access issues such as lack of insurance and transportation has posed a problem for residents. Much of the public transportation in the area was limited and did not go from where most of the residents live to specialized health care providers and these services were mostly located outside of the city.
While diversity can be an asset, it can also bring about challenges such as potential language barriers. Language barriers in the community were identified, and Spanish was an overwhelmingly predominant one. New Brunswick has a growing Latino community creating significant barriers to accessing health care. Latinos would be reluctant to seek health care if they are not able to communicate their needs effectively. In addition, receiving and understanding instructions related to treatment and medications can cause problems
Mental health issues are another major health problem. Changes in relation to immigration and loss of social support are sources related to depression. Depression in women is often related to problems with alcohol abuse in men as well as domestic violence. These problems can further be related to stress from multiple jobs, long work hours, low wages, and the obligations of supporting family in their home country. Depression can also develop in elderly residents who are isolated as well as those who live in senior buildings.
A5. Community Diagnosis: Fortunately, there have been ongoing efforts to improve the health and well-being of the city’s residents. Government and non-government representatives participated in contributing to the development of strategies and resources to improve the health of the community. Health task forces have been established to identify priority health needs and concerns. The task force has conducted surveys that revealed information on the health conditions of New Brunswick residents.
Through the collaboration and combined efforts of other organizations, many cost-efficient and time-efficient programs have been offered to residents. Access to care is as a result of lack of insurance, availability of services, and cultural and social barriers. Mental health issues have been statistically difficult to assess because it is not always reported. However, the community is committed to improving the health issues identified and have encouraged residents to participate. The health of the community depends on different factors, including individual behaviors, the environment, education, employment, access to healthcare, and quality of healthcare.
For the data assessed, New Brunswick, NJ has made steps in addressing health care needs and concerns of the community. There is an abundance of resources available for the residents of the community. Strategic plans have been created by the community to improve the quality of life through better health. This includes improving access to primary as well as specialty care. Providing information in both English and Spanish to promote knowledge and compliance have been established to cater to the growing diverse population.
Healthcare in the Community
Middlesex County Health Improvement Plan
Rutgers Center for State Health Policy
Saint Peter’s University Hospital
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson University Medical School
Predominantly Hispanics or Latinos
25.8% population and 15.5% families below poverty line
31.5% population without health insurance coverage
Limited access to specialized care
Difficulty assessing mental health issues
Population Economic Status
Located in Middlesex County, NJ
Median household income $44,54325
25.8% below poverty line
5.2% reported unemployment rate
31.5% without health insurance coverage
Disaster Assessment & Planning
NJ Task Force on Disaster Planning
Middlesex County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Guide
Guidebook and disaster planning guide
Family emergency plan
NJ Office of Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management resources
Mascarenhas, R. (2011). _Census data shows Hispanics as the largest minority in N.J._. Retrieved from http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/02/census_data_shows_hispanics_as.html
NJ Department of Education. (n.d.). _Doe data 2012-13 dropouts_. Retrieved from http://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/education/data/drp.pl
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). _Local area unemployment statistics_. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/lau/
U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division (2014). _Annual estimates of the resident population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013_ . Retrieved from http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk
NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development. (2011). _NJ labor market views_. Retrieved from http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/lpa/pub/lmv/LMV_1.pdf
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