Providing Access To Health Care For Area’s Underserved Population Is Goal Of Fundraiser

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NEW BRUNSWICK – In 1992, two medical students saw the need to improve the health care delivered to New Brunswick’s homeless community while expanding service learning opportunities for medical students.

Twenty years later, the Homeless and Indigent Population Health Outreach Project, or HIPHOP, at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has become a comprehensive, student-run health delivery organization that provides primary care, patient education and psychiatric services to adults who have limited access to medical care. In support of its community-oriented programs, HIPHOP will host its 13th annual 5K Fun Run/Walk on Saturday, April 14.

The 5K Fun/Run Walk will be held in Johnson Park on River Road in Piscataway. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the starting point east of Landing Lane Bridge across from the Animal Haven. The race, which will have a new route this year, will begin at 10 a.m. Entry fees are $14 per participant before March 19 or $15 after March 19. The entry fee for teams that include five or more participants is $12 per person; teams must register prior to March 19.

Community members interested in participating can find more information and register at: http://rwjms.umdnj.edu/hiphop_5k.html or call 1-732-235-4198. Online registration is available for a minimal charge of $2.50. Last year’s event included nearly 200 participants and raised approximately $4,000.

“Through involvement in HIPHOP, health professional students enhance their education and communication skills, and learn about the social and medical needs of underserved populations in the Greater New Brunswick area while gaining valuable community-oriented primary care experience and practicing patient-centered medicine,” said Susan Giordano, staff program coordinator of HIPHOP at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The students in HIPHOP, who include medical students, physician assistant students and public health students, participate in more than 30 outreach projects in central New Jersey that focus on health maintenance and disease prevention.

The Promise Clinic, a student-run health clinic for guests of Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen in New Brunswick, is a principal program of HIPHOP and primary beneficiary of the 5K Run/Walk. It offers primary care, lab and pharmacy services to more than 80 patients, up from 15 when it was founded in 2005. Each patient is paired with a team of four student doctors, one from each year of medical school who follow their patient throughout their years at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to ensure continuity of care.

Additional supported HIPHOP programs range from shadowing physicians at the school’s Eric B. Chandler Health Center, to teaching high school students about HIV prevention, to attending chemotherapy treatments with cancer patients. The students also attend local health fairs to provide basic health screenings and teach educational workshops on preventive medicine at Ozanam Family Shelter, the New Hope Foundation-Open Doors, and local middle and high schools. All programs are overseen by medical school faculty and health professionals who volunteer their time to train and assist the students.

The Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Alumni Association is a major sponsor of the HIPHOP 5K Run/Walk, which also receives support from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the Foundation of UMDNJ, and faculty and staff of the medical school, as well as other local companies and organizations.


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