Professors John Jacobi and Tara Ragone

Center Faculty Work to Advance Sustainability of Key Members of Care Teams Who Improve Access to Quality Care and Help Address Social Determinants of Health



November 1, 2022

Professors John V. Jacobi and Tara Adams Ragone continue to work with public and private partners to build sustainability for workforce members who help address care and service gaps for vulnerable populations.

Jacobi and Ragone are entering their third year of collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) to build and sustain a robust, well-trained community health worker (CHW) workforce in New Jersey. They have been key partners of the DOH as it launched the Colette Lamothe-Galette Community Health Worker Institute (Institute), which began training and deploying CHWs in 2020. Jacobi and Ragone serve on the Institute’s Steering Committee as it explores critical questions including CHW certification. They also serve as co-chairs of the Institute’s Sustainability Workgroup, which is researching and developing proposals for ways to braid funding to support the vital role of CHWs in addressing the social determinants of health. The three-year Community Health Workers for COVID Response and Resilient Communities grant from the Centers for Disease Control permits NJDOH and its partners to build on this important work. In the coming year, Professors Jacobi and Ragone, among other DOH priorities, will lead the Sustainability Workgroup as it coordinates with Medicaid and managed care plans to implement a CHW pilot program that is proposed in New Jersey’s 1115 NJ FamilyCare Demonstration Renewal Request.

Professors Jacobi and Ragone also continue to provide their regulatory and Medicaid expertise to identify and achieve sustainable funding streams to assist implementation of the HealthySteps (HS) model in New Jersey. HS is an evidence-based, team-based pediatric primary care model that promotes the health, well-being and school readiness of babies and toddlers, with an emphasis on families living in low-income communities. In 2019, the Burke Foundation, the Turrell Fund, and The Nicholson Foundation partnered to support implementation of HS pilots at four Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) pediatric practices. The Nicholson Foundation provided initial funding to Professors Jacobi and Ragone to work in lockstep with the HS National Office at ZERO TO THREE, HMH, and other relevant stakeholders during the rollout of the pilots with the goal to structure a funding roadmap to support the long-term sustainability of the programs after the pilots as well as additional sites in the state. This work includes vital and ongoing dialogue with Medicaid and other state agencies with shared responsibility for the health and wellness of children and families as well as a number of advocacy organizations. Professors Jacobi and Ragone continue to work closely with HS’s sustainability partners to develop payment reform proposals that would sustain the HS model.


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