On Thursday, September 15, over sixty people from across South Jersey gathered at the Mullica Hill Branch of the Gloucester County Library for WRI’s Forum About South Jersey. The forums are a semi-annual event where distinguished Rutgers–Camden Faculty present research on pertinent regional topics. Those topics are then analyzed and discussed by a panel of experts and the South Jersey community at large. This year’s Faculty Fellow report and presentation, Don’t Sugarcoat It: Diabetes Prevention Services in Southern New Jersey, Current Realities, Future Opportunities, were developed by Janice M. Beitz. The full report and presentation are available on WRI’s website.
Professor Beitz’s report began with a strong exhortation, “New Jersey, especially Southern New Jersey, and the United States are facing a tsunami of diabetes mellitus type 2 development in the next decade. If preventive strategies are not increased and coordinated in an efficient, meaningful manner, the counties of Southern New Jersey will become a diabetes disaster zone that is out of control and irreparable.” This immediacy and urgency carried through the whole of the forum and was echoed by attendees. In order to combat such developments, Beitz gathered together and assessed private, county, state, federal, and health care system resources available to primary health care providers in the region. This practical distillation of diabetes prevention and management resources is not a solution to the concerns facing society, but a galvanizing assessment intended to guide practitioners, academics, and businesswomen and men forward toward constructive and comprehensive partnership.
The Forum featured distinguished panelists with cross-sector expertise and included: Meena S Murthy, MD, Board President (American Diabetes Association-North Jersey), Colette Lamothe-Galette, MPH, Director, Population Health (New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services), Carol Laws-Krause, RN, CDE, Senior Medical Liaison, South Jersey (Novo Nordisk Inc.), and Lisa Scheetz, Director of Operations/COO (Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA). Each panelist spoke to her specialties and discussed the strengths of the report and their particular institution’s interaction with the prevalence of diabetes in South Jersey. Audience members were also given opportunity to raise concerns for discussion with the panelists and presenter.
WRI’s next Forum About South Jersey will take place on December 6th at Rutgers-Camden. More details are available on WRI’s website and registration for the event will begin in October.