Direct effect: Report praises EDA programs for helping bolster Camden’s health

File photo EDA incentive programs have certain exceptions for projects in Camden.

A new report prepared by Econsult Solutions Inc., and praised by former Gov. Jim Florio in the introduction, touts the positive impact of investments on social determinants of health in Camden.

ESI’s 44-page report, submitted to the Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors, highlights a number of changes to the city since 2006, including investments in public safety, education, neighborhood and physical environment, health and health care, and economic development.

Specifically, the report touts the Grow New Jersey incentives and Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant Program grants from the state’s Economic Development Authority. The tax incentives have come under harsh scrutiny after a recent audit by the state Comptroller’s Office, which showed that many companies did not satisfy the minimum requirements for such incentives.

“Grow NJ and ERG’s impacts in Camden have been significant,” the report said.

“Between 2013 and 2017, $1.6 billion in Grow NJ awards have been given to businesses that are likely to relocate to Camden. The same companies have made or will make at least $1.3 billion in capital investments in Camden. In addition, these companies have created an economic environment that has provided new non-Economic Opportunity Act businesses intrinsic certainty to open or expand their operation in Camden.”

The report also recaps the economic decline Camden went through and the McKinsey & Co. report in 2001 that help set a framework for the city to recover.

“Since 2001, Camden has been on a steady climb out of its crisis,” according to the report.

This includes a consistent decline in crime since 2010, bottoming out at 3,584 reported crimes last year — lower than any year in the last 40 years.

In the health care sphere, the report credits the efforts of Cooper University Health Care, which has invested $170 milllion; Virtua Health, which has invested $22 million; and Lourdes Health System, which has invested $46 million. The latter two are in merger talks.

The report also highlights other health care entities like CAMcare Health Corp., the Coriell Institute for Medical Research and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.

The Coalition is well-known for the efforts by former head Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, who spearheaded significant research on social determinants of care.

“Research on social determinants of health demonstrates that Camden’s whole city strategy approach has been effective and its continuance is critically important to the long-term health of its residents and the city itself,” the report concludes.

“Camden faced more than 50 years of economic decline … that had a dramatic impact on the quality of life, health and well-being of its residents. Camden has made tremendous progress in a short period of time, but those changes are not yet secure.”

To read the report, see the embedded document below:

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