New Jersey’s public health system is at a critical inflection point. As New Jersey emerges from the COVID-19 public health emergency, there is widespread commitment within and outside the public health system to the importance of public health service and to embed many of the novel strategic and operational approaches created in the context of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Using past and ongoing funds from the CDC, NJDOH has laid the foundation for innovation and scalability of equitable public health outcomes. This grant will facilitate continued innovation and modernization of New Jersey’s public health system through a matrix of support to state and local health agencies.
Workplan and Outcomes
Strategy A1: Workforce –By hiring a Workforce Director to lead a newly established Office of Workforce Planning and Professional Development (OWPPD) (A1.1), hiring a dedicated full-time employee for program evaluation and performance measures of all work under this cooperative agreement (A1.2), and identifying a Data Modernization Director (A1.3) to formalize the Data Modernization Steering Committee, NJDOH will facilitate transformation and build capabilities of New Jersey’s public health workforce at all levels. To increase the size and diversity of New Jersey’s public heath workforce, OWPPD will transform recruitment pathways in state and local departments of health (A1:4); enhance the education and career ladder and address gaps in the public health workforce (A1.5); and support retention and personnel well-being within NJDOH (A1.6). Establishing a Local Health Liaison Program to provide regionalized support to Local Health Departments (LHDs) and providing resourcing and support for Public Health Accreditation Board accreditation (A1.7) will increase coordination and shared learning across all LHDs and diversify the ones that are accredited by reducing barriers to the application process. Meanwhile, NJDOH aims to reduce disparities and embed health equity in all aspects of public health strategy, policy, design, and delivery through the expanded Office of Minority, Multicultural Health and Equity (A1.8) and the Office of Women’s Health (A1.9). In parallel, NJDOH will conduct recurrent assessments of the temporary workforce hired to identify roles and functions that are essential so that they may become permanent if resources allow (A1.10).
Strategy A2: Foundational Capabilities – A dedicated Performance Management Unit will strengthen accountability and performance management of public health functions internally (A2.1). Organizational and administrative systems will be improved through a refresh of NJDOH’s public health workforce development plan and creation of a workforce surge plan (A2.2), and through digitization of Human Resources recruitment and personnel records (A2.3). The Health Equity Quality Assurance Program (A2.4) will launch to strategically coordinate health equity programming, policy, and practice at all levels. By bolstering communications capabilities across the Department (A2.5) NJDOH will continue as a go-to source of trusted information for a broad cross-section of New Jerseyans. Deployment of the mobile response units to underserved communities (A2.6) aims to advance equity in health care access for all.
Strategy A3: Data Modernization – To produce a modern and efficient data environment, increased interoperability, and increased use of data to action, NJDOH’s Data Modernization Director will lead the assessment of current capacity, gaps, and opportunities (A3.1); creation of an implementation plan (A3.2) and of the data workforce (A3.3); and acceleration of implementation through innovative modernization pilots to enhance data quality, exchange, dissemination, and use (A3.5). All of this will be supported by technical assistance under this cooperative agreement, including participation in CDC-sponsored Data Modernization workshops and trainings (A3.4).