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Riley Smith and has family have benefitted from services on the big blue bus as they continue to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy on the New Jersey coast.


Preventing Burnout

We are working with our partners at Catholic Charities to take care of case workers who have been on the ground since Hurricane Sandy hit. These folks have been visiting with families throughout the neighborhood, helping them apply for relief funds, making sure they have somewhere safe and warm to sleep, finding them local contractors to assist in rebuilding their homes and more. They have worked tirelessly for others and today we talked with them about compassion fatigue. It is so easy for these workers to burn out as they are trying to help those around them. It is vital that they remain in good mental health because they are such a lifeline to the community. We practiced some stress management exercises – deep breathing and meditation, concentration, and self-message! We need to make sure we’re taking care of those who are taking care of others!

Learning Together

Recently we started a five-session parenting group for new moms, and it was a lot of fun for the women to get together…. 

Starting a New Chapter

A young woman came to us to get her medication refills and it was clear she was trapped in a bad cycle.  She had a long-standing history of uncontrolled asthma, and she was constantly in the ER in crisis.  Part of the problem was lack of health education.  It was clear that she didn’t really understand what asthma is or how to use her medications to control her symptoms.  We took the time to focus on patient education, and she is doing so much better.  She hasn’t had to return to the ER.  And today, when she stopped in for a follow up appointment, she told us that she has started a new job and left the shelter for an independent living program. 

New Jersey

When you walk through Pennington Court, a public housing complex in Newark’s East Ward, you can see the challenges that families face. The average annual household income barely tops $11,000, and drugs are common in the surrounding areas. But Cindy Sickora, the Program Director for the New Jersey Children’s Health Project, sees good things happening here too.


Dr. Sickora, who has a doctorate in nursing practice, believes positive changes are underway.  When she and the Children’s Health Fund’s mobile medical clinic arrive on a Monday morning at Pennington Court, one of 8 sites on the mobile program’s weekly schedule, families are already gathering for their appointments.   It seems like everyone is talking about health – good health. 

“Salad is my secret weapon,” announces a ten-year-old, with a family history of diabetes.  She has lost five pounds this month, putting her closer to a healthy weight.    At the front of the clinic, the Project’s registrar is engaged in a different conversation.  A grandmother of five asthmatic boys boasts that she spent the weekend turning her apartment into an “asthma-friendly zone.”   

This level of enthusiasm wasn’t always evident.  Like today’s young patient, Dr. Sickora also has a secret weapon: a team of community outreach workers who have visited every apartment in Pennington Court and two other public housing complexes to reach 1,000 families.  The community health workers are an important link to the mobile program.  


Going door-to-door, the health workers, local residents themselves, help educate families about the mobile clinic, schedule appointments, conduct health screenings, and offer support to neighbors trying to lose weight, lower their blood pressure, get more exercise and follow the other medical recommendations. 

In addition to public housing complexes, the mobile clinic visits schools and early education programs.   A large focus of the New Jersey Children’s Health Project is making certain that local kids have annual medical exams, can manage chronic conditions, are up-to-date on their immunizations and registered in the state immunization registry.  The state has recognized this outstanding program, and now provides vaccines for the kids the mobile clinic serves.

Home Institution/Affiliation 
Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences, School of Nursing
Available services 
  • Comprehensive physical examinations and immunizations;
  • Management of acute and chronic illnesses;
  • OB/GYN referrals;
  • Nutrition assessment, cholesterol screening and body weight monitoring;
  • Screenings for cancer and vision and hearing testing, and lead screening referrals;
  • HIV and STD counseling;
  • Substance abuse assessment and referrals;
  • Community and social service referrals; and
  • Exercise and medication instruction.
Special initiatives 
Program Fact sheet