Bergen New Bridge Medical Center awarded New Jersey Safety Net Innovation Program grant

The Camden Coalition and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation recently announced that Bergen New Bridge Medical Center is one of the first-ever awardees of the New Jersey Safety Net Innovation Program, which provided $3.3 million in grants to 11 organizations focused on strengthening the health care safety net in New Jersey and improving health equity in New Jersey.

Awardees of the NJ SNIP grants each will receive $300,000 in funding over two years from the BMS Foundation to address the community and/or strategic capacity-building needs in their areas. The Camden Coalition will offer tailored one-on-one technical support related to project management and implementation barriers as well as other technical resources.

“We are an important health care resource for the LGBTQ+ community because they know they will receive quality, respectful, equitable and compassionate care,” Deborah Visconi, CEO & president, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, said. “This grant will help us to further develop a health care experience where barriers are removed and access to care is increased.”

The medical center’s LGBTQ+ Health & Wellness Center was awarded a grant for its outreach project, “Improving Healthcare Access for the LGBTQ+ Community Through Telehealth and Navigation.” The grant will help expand wraparound services like patient navigation, assessment of social determinants of health and referral services. The medical center will work with community-based organizations to streamline access to telehealth and remove transportation-related barriers to care.

“Our LGBTQ+ Health & Wellness Center provides comprehensive primary care services to the LGBTQ+ community, including gender-affirming hormone therapy, HIV prevention medication, sexual health services and routine primary care including preventive care, screenings and vaccinations,” Finn Schubert, program specialist, who will lead the grant program alongside Dr. Christopher Awwad, medical director, LGBTQ+ Health & Wellness Center, said. “This grant will enable us to enhance the support and navigation services we can provide to our patients, and to expand access to our services.”

By providing this combination of flexible funding and technical assistance to safety net organizations, the BMS Foundation hopes to strengthen the organizations’ capacity to address inequities and build relationships with community members and other health and social services providers.

The Camden Coalition was selected by the BMS Foundation to co-design, implement and administer this new grant program because of the coalition’s two decades of experience working with individuals who have complex health and social needs, and its reputation as a national leader in developing equitable models of care.