Business and community leaders gathered yesterday at Capital Health, one of the area’s largest employers and a provider of health care in the Trenton community for over 125 years, to champion an initiative spearheading significant investment in the community surrounding Capital Health’s flagship hospital on Brunswick Avenue. In addition to announcing the new Trenton Neighborhood Initiative, Capital Health announced it has received a $2.5 million leadership gift from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, dedicated to supporting the initiative’s work.
Recognizing its role as an anchor institution in Trenton, Capital Health decided to embark on a significant project to drive $10 million of investment in the greater well-being of the neighborhood where Capital Health Regional Medical Center is located. Capital Health approached Trenton Health Team, a valued community partner, to work with them on developing and executing this transformative multi-year plan.
“Leaders in health care know that our responsibility to the communities we serve extends well beyond the walls of our hospitals and medical offices,” said Al Maghazehe, president and CEO of Capital Health. “The health of our community is about much more, and I am committed to driving meaningful programs that will have an impact on the broader health and well-being of our neighbors.”
A community kickoff will be held from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, September 24, at Sprout U located at 27 E Paul Avenue in Trenton. Neighbors are invited to join us for food, activities, and celebration! Also, neighbors will hear more about some of the programs being launched in the coming weeks.
During the official announcement at Capital Health Regional Medical Center on Wednesday, Maghazehe acknowledged key supporters. “I want to thank Greg Paulson, Trenton Health Team’s Executive Director, and his team for their dedication, partnership, and expertise. I also am greatly appreciative of valued partners like Peg Forrestal and Bernie Flynn who were part of early conversations about TNI; and, before we go further I want to offer a very big thank you to Dr. (Eric) Schwartz who is leading this program on the Capital Health side.”
“This investment will create new opportunities to engage community residents in improving the wellbeing and stability of their neighborhood while making Trenton a safer, more beautiful place to live,” said Maghazehe. “I hope it will also forge deeper partnerships with friends like those at Greater Trenton, Greater Mount, Zion AME Church, and Salvation and Social Justice who have joined us today.”
“I want to thank Isles, and Michael Nordquist, who I am very happy to have here with us today. They are important partners and have been working closely with the TNI team on these projects,” Maghazehe added. “I want to take a moment to thank the college’s new President, Deborah Preston, for being here today along with the college’s leadership team who is helping develop this important program.”
The Trenton Neighborhood Initiative (TNI) recognizes the importance of helping address the social determinants of health for residents and will deliver solutions that complement the health care services Capital Health provides. Specifically, TNI will focus on programs supporting home ownership and rehabilitation, job training and employment, digital equity, and healthy beginnings to support the needs of new moms and their families.
“The commitment of Capital Health to Trenton has endured for over a century and is something we are resolute in,” said Samuel J. Plumeri, Jr., Chairman, Board of Trustees, Capital Healthcare Inc. “Having grown up in North Trenton, it is personally very meaningful for me to be a part of such a significant commitment to the neighborhood and those who live here.”
“Trenton Health Team has been dedicated to the health and well-being of the greater Trenton community for more than a decade, and we are proud to be Capital Health’s implementation partner in this important initiative,” said Gregory Paulson, Trenton Health Team’s Executive Director. “We are committed to engaging deeply with residents as we work with Trentonians and Capital Health to make healthy, lasting changes in our neighborhoods.”
In addition to providing its own $1 million commitment of financial support for the project, Capital Health has launched an ambitious campaign seeking philanthropic support from valued corporate partners, friends, and neighbors. Through TNI, Capital Health and its partners will be investing time and resources in what is planned to be a five-year, $10 million effort. This investment will create new opportunities to engage community residents in improving the well-being and stability of their neighborhood while making Trenton a safer, more beautiful place to live. The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation pledged the first leadership gift to the campaign in the amount of $2.5 million.
“The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation has long made clear its commitment to the local community providing continued support for innovative and transformational projects geared towards improved health in the communities most in need. They were instrumental in supporting the Bristol Myers Squibb Trauma Center at our Brunswick Avenue campus and the launch of the state’s first Mobile Stroke Unit,” said Maghazehe. “I am deeply grateful for their ongoing support of programs that have such a meaningful impact on our community.”
“Having a healthy community depends on more than just having a great hospital,” said John Damonti, president of the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation. “Understanding this, Capital Health is taking an innovative and comprehensive approach by addressing fundamental elements of health and wellbeing: education and housing. We are delighted to support the Trenton Neighborhood Initiative, an investment that will help create a healthy community and develop a stable and invested workforce that will enable Trenton to provide the employees that will continue to make Capital Health the great hospital that the community deserves.”
Key strategies are being developed based on input from community residents, data and recommendations from existing neighborhood plans, and industry best practices. Long-term, with community and partner input and involvement, the program will seek to make significant strides in four key pillars: Live, Work, Grow, and Connect.
Programs will begin in phases as program development is complete and partners are brought on board, however, two signature programs supporting homeownership and education will be launching over the next several weeks.
The Trenton Neighborhood Initiative Homebuyer Assistance Program is a partnership between Capital Health’s Trenton Neighborhood Initiative and New Jersey Community Capital. Trenton Neighborhood Initiative and Address Yourself, an affordable homeownership mortgage program by New Jersey Community Capital, will provide payment assistance grants of up to $20,000 to buyers seeking to become first-time homeowners in Trenton. The program will also provide homeownership and financial counseling to applicants.
In partnership with Mercer County Community College, TNI will provide educational scholarships that will enable Trenton residents to benefit from $5,000 grants that will help them obtain an Allied Healthcare professional certification, an Associate Degree, and/or an educational path to obtain career advancement, including participation in the Health Care Careers Plus One program.
Among the broader programs being developed and explored:
- LIVE: Homeownership and Neighborhood Revitalization
- Financial assistance for neighborhood residents and hospital employees to buy homes through the Homebuyer Assistance Program (HAP)
- Financial assistance for homeowners to make home improvements through the Home Improvement Program (HIP)
- Strategies to identify and eliminate lead and other home health hazards
- Strategies to improve the housing system and return vacant properties to active use, including developing new affordable housing, community gardens, and other neighborhood amenities
- WORK: Job Training and Small Business Support
- Financial support and training for new and existing businesses
- Vocational training and scholarships for residents interested in health care careers
- Pipeline to employment at Capital Health for neighborhood residents
- GROW: Child and family well-being
- Establish trusted relationships with health care providers and families and support referral fulfillment, provide assistance to meet household needs, and help families thrive and support new mothers and their family’s needs through Capital Health’s postpartum home visit program
- Citywide strategies to increase child lead screenings
- Miss Kendra, a school-based program to address trauma and nurture resilience among students
- CONNECT: Digital equity
- Increased digital capacity in the surrounding neighborhood
TNI builds upon previous community development initiatives, including the BUILD Health Challenge focused on Brunswick Avenue led by Trenton Health Team from 2017-2019, and the development of the North Trenton/Battle Monument Neighborhood Transformation Plan through the Choice Neighborhoods program led by the Trenton Housing Authority. TNI also leverages significant public health efforts focused on addressing maternal and child health and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), both important priorities for Capital Health. TNI intentionally aligns with strategies identified by these foundational initiatives and seeks to evolve and sustain them to enact real change for Trenton residents.
Capital Health is the region’s health care leader and includes two hospitals (Regional Medical Center in Trenton and Capital Health Medical Center – Hopewell), an outpatient facility in Hamilton, NJ, and various primary and specialty care practices across the region. Capital Health serves as a Level II regional trauma center, comprehensive stroke center, regional perinatal center (including a Level III NICU), and emergency mental health screening center.
Trenton Health Team is one of four Regional Health Hubs in New Jersey, responsible for addressing health and well-being in the Trenton area. THT has led several multi-year initiatives to improve community health in Trenton and received national recognition for its innovative, collaborative, and data-driven approach.
Partners: Trenton Housing Authority, Isles, the City of Trenton, and many other local organizations focused on housing, economic development, education, maternal/fetal health, and social services in Trenton.