At Atlantic Health System, Health Starts with Community Collaboration
When Atlantic Health System’s Healthy Communities program coordinator, Alexandra, began her work in northern New Jersey, she started by listening to members of the community. To help address residents’ unique needs, Alexandra and her team created neighborhood-based partnerships, in which collaborated with four diverse target neighborhoods, to help identify community needs and share and coordinate resources. One of those neighborhoods was Plainfield, NJ. Through Atlantic Health System’s New Jersey Healthy Communities Network (NJHCN), a grantee group created EZ-Ride, a healthy corner store initiative to promote nutrition at bodegas in the community and increase community members’ access to healthy food. EZ-Ride worked with bodega owners to acquire fresh fruits and vegetables at a more affordable price from produce wholesalers, and to move the fruits and vegetables into the front of the store to make them more visible and likely to be purchased. Inspired by grantees like EZ-Ride, Alexandra continues to help lead community-powered work to create real, lasting change in northern New Jersey.