New Brunswick Partnership Selected to Participate In Nationwide ‘Build Health Challenge’

October 12, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative has been selected by a coalition of 12 funding organizations to participate in the BUILD Health Challenge, a national program that puts multi-sector community partnerships at the foundation of improving health for everyone.

The project will focus on the physical and environmental conditions that contribute to healthy housing, as well as the relationships between local community members and organizations to serve the Esperanza and Unity Square Neighborhoods in the city of New Brunswick.

New Brunswick is one of 19 communities selected to participate. BUILD awards funding, capacity building support, and access to a national peer-learning network. The program emphasizes cross-sector collaboration among local non-profit organizations, hospitals, and public health departments to address upstream conditions that create opportunities for better health. BUILD selected New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative because of its Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local, and Data-driven (BUILD) ideas to improve the health of its residents.

The New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative is comprised of New Brunswick Tomorrow, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Saint Peter’s University Hospital, and the Middlesex County Office of Health Services. These organizations will work together, with guidance from BUILD advisors, to identify and implement innovative solutions to community challenges. Matching funds from both hospitals, combined with BUILD’s $138,700 two-year grant, will further extend the partnership’s capacity to encourage safe and healthy housing in New Brunswick.

“We’re very excited to receive the BUILD Health award” stated Jaymie Santiago, President of New Brunswick Tomorrow. “Our New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative will harness the efforts of our partners: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, St. Peters University Hospital, the Middlesex County Office of Health Services and others within the Healthier New Brunswick and Healthier Middlesex networks to identify and implement solutions concerning healthy housing in New Brunswick, in particular for the Unity Square and Esperanza neighborhoods.”

“We are delighted to call New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative our partners in supporting communities to become healthier,” said Bob Atkins, director of New Jersey Health Initiatives, a BUILD funding partner. “The work this collaborative isdoing in New Brunswick to address housing, childhood lead exposure and the environment takes the health conversation upstream and exemplifies the ambitious goal of building a Culture of Health in New Jersey and the nation.”

“Every community faces its own set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to improving the health of its residents,” said Emily Yu, executive director of the BUILD Health Challenge. “With this award, we hope to catalyze the work of New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative and bring together residents and organizations from across sectors to address the root causes of health issues in New Brunswick—and ultimately transform how we think about health in America.”


BUILD seeks to create a new norm in the U.S. by addressing upstream factors affecting health. It is supported by a unique collaborative of local and national funders, which includes the Advisory Board Company, The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation, The Episcopal Health Foundation, Interact for Health, The Kresge Foundation, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, New Jersey Health Initiatives, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Telligen Community Initiative, and The W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

For more information, visit or follow at @BUILD_Health.


New Brunswick Tomorrow is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of New Brunswick’s people. We do this by fostering public and private networks of institutions and community organizations. The initiatives that emerge help promote self-sufficiency and personal dignity in our citizens. New Brunswick Tomorrow identifies critical community needs and responds to those needs. We serve as a catalyst in developing and supporting solutions that improve the quality of life in our community. We work with our partners in the city’s public/private revitalization, assuring that health, human service and social issues are addressed that complement the physical and cultural revival of New Brunswick.


Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is a 965-bed academic medical center with campuses in New Brunswick and Somerville, NJ. Its Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, stroke care, neuroscience, joint replacement, and women’s and children’s care including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.


Saint Peter’s University Hospital is a non-profit, 478-bed acute care teaching hospital sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. Saint Peter’s brings the latest medical practices and highly skilled professionals to the bedside. We employ more than 2,600 healthcare professionals and support personnel, and more than 900 doctors and dentists are on staff at our hospital. We treat more than 30,000 inpatients and more than 200,000 outpatients yearly.


The mission of the Middlesex County Office of Health Services is to maintain the health and well being of the community through disease prevention, health promotion, and environmental protection. We offer a wide array of Public Health services such as food protection, disease surveillance, well infant classes, immunizations, and cancer screening and education.  We collaborate with many community partners to enhance the services available to all County residents. We protect and act as stewards of our County environment through monitoring of our air, water, waste, and streams to ensure our County’s natural resources provide opportunities for our residents to enjoy.