New Jersey has participated in the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) since 2005. In November 2018, New Jersey’s Governor made ‘Ending the HIV Epidemic (ETE)’ initiative a key strategy for the state. As such, New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is depending on MMP to inform ETE efforts on the sociodemographic, behavioral and clinical characteristics of persons living with HIV in New Jersey; their utilization of prevention, ancillary and healthcare services; and, the quality of care received.
New Jersey (NJ) is one of four model states to meet or exceed all the MMP national interview and MRA benchmarks, demonstrating an increased capacity for sampling and data collection. New Jersey MMP is a national pioneer in developing a collaboration with the NJ Department of Corrections and including incarcerated individuals in the sample, thereby increasing the representativeness of the HIV population included in the project. 2019 was a year of challenges at New Jersey MMP with the retirement of the Program Coordinator and the Data Analyst. The implementation of the CDC Tracking Module database and the hiring of a new Principal Investigator and Project Coordinator were a few other transitions in the project. Efforts are currently underway to recruit for the Data Analyst/Manager position.
A new workplan for June 2020-May 2025, that will continue to meet and exceed benchmarks set for the program, is presented here. New Jersey proposes to conduct Behavioral Interviews for at least 47% of all eligible persons from the sample of 500 cases selected annually. Medical Record Abstractions (MRA) will be conducted for at least 95% of all persons that are interviewed. Six full-time and three part-time staff members will dedicate time to MMP. With three full time interviewers currently dedicated to the project, this proposal anticipates the recruitment of two other interviewers/medical abstracters. Stable funding for these positions and the timely hiring for the vacant Data Manager position will mitigate any anticipated issues.
In the workplan, strategies and activities for both components include preparing for and conducting data collection, data management and dissemination, quality assurance and evaluation, and collaboration. The objectives of NJ MMP will be to address social determinants of health in the prevention, care and treatment of persons living with HIV; to develop strong collaborations among state and local partners responsible for HIV surveillance, prevention and treatment; and, to enhance the surveillance systems with completeness of data on persons with HIV/AIDS. Further, NJ MMP will seek collaborations with governmental and community-based social need and social service organizations to link persons with housing, food security, transportation, health insurance and healthcare. Data analysis in the new cycle will be a priority of the Principal Investigator, an epidemiologist, with the development of infographics and data-to-action documents. The project will produce analytical products for dissemination to local and national stakeholders. Data previously collected by New Jersey MMP was disseminated to local stakeholders. A recent instance is the 2nd bi-annual July 2019 NJ MMP Stakeholders Conference which served to increase the knowledge of local partners to prevent and treat HIV.