New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative Receives BUILD Health Challenge® Award to Create Systems Change to Impact Health at the Local Level


The New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative announced that it has been selected to receive the BUILD Health Challenge® Award. The integrated partnership between New Brunswick Tomorrow, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Saint Peter’s University Hospital, and the Middlesex County Office of Health Services is honored to have been selected as one of 18 communities across the nation to receive funding from BUILD for the 2019-2021 term.

The Collaborative will use lessons learned from the established Healthy Housing project in New Brunswick. Current home assessments and community outreach conducted by Community Health Ambassadors have sparked momentum with residents to address healthy housing challenges. The project will receive $250,000 in funding and additional resources to support the ongoing work to develop and drive policy changes that ensure healthier homes. The Collaborative will work with the City of New Brunswick to improve housing-related city ordinances to enable stable and healthy housing.

The BUILD Health Challenge is a unique national program focusing on bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven projects. This award strengthens partnerships between local nonprofit organizations, hospitals and health systems, and local health departments to drive sustainable improvements in community health.

“For 45 years New Brunswick Tomorrow has fostered partnerships across the city to meet the needs of New Brunswick residents and improve quality of life. This award provides an additional opportunity to come together around one of the cities toughest challenges, housing. Together, we look forward to creating meaningful changes that empower families to build healthy homes and healthy communities,” stated Jaymie Santiago, president and CEO of New Brunswick Tomorrow.

“New Brunswick is focused on providing healthy-living opportunities and improving the lives of every one of our citizens. Local partnerships and community-based projects, such as the Healthy Housing initiative, have resulted in dynamic outreach networks providing health care and services directly into City neighborhoods,” stated New Brunswick Mayor James M. Cahill.

“We are proud to participate in the Build Health Challenge® and appreciate the opportunity to strengthen existing partnerships and develop new partnerships to help reduce health disparities and create opportunities for improved community health,” said Leslie D. Hirsch, FACHE, president and CEO, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick President and Chief Executive Officer John J. Gantner stated, “We are excited to be a part of the Build Health Challenge®. By receiving this prestigious award, we will continue to work with our partners and address identified housing challenges to improve the health and well-being of the community.”

“As we continue to plan and engage with community stakeholders towards developing Middlesex County’s strategic plan, this Healthy Housing initiative will connect residents to resources and services to help them lead healthy, active, and prosperous lives. Through a shared commitment with community-based organizations, health care, government officials, residents, and other partners such as the New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative, we can shape how our county will grow and change in the future,” said Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios.

“As the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) is an enthusiastic partner in the BUILD Health Challenge®,” says Bob Atkins, director of NJHI. “With the New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative as one of two New Jersey-based BUILD projects, we welcome this opportunity to share New Jersey models on a national scale, while also bringing home promising practices from the other 16 BUILD communities across the country to ensure all New Jerseyans have the opportunity to live the healthiest lives possible.”

You can learn more about the Build Health Challenge® by visiting

You can learn more about the New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative’s project by visiting

Background Information

On November 19, 2019 the BUILD Health Challenge® welcomed its Third Cohort of awardees, including 18 communities throughout the United States, that will receive a total of $8 million in funding and resources to transform health at the local level over the next two years.

These 18 communities are now part of a growing national network of communities leading the way in the creation of sustainable improvements in community health. To date, BUILD has supported the efforts of 55 collaboratives from across the country in 25 states.

Working on a wide range of issues, these communities will apply bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven approaches grounded in health equity to tackle the root causes of some of today’s most pressing challenges. Issue areas include: food insecurity, elder community building, maternal and child support systems, community revitalization, housing, and more.

This cohort was chosen from more than 130 applicants looking to join this growing effort to move resources, action, and attention upstream. Each awardee group consists of a community-based organization that will lead the effort, a hospital, and the local public health department. The collaboratives that are selected generally demonstrate a history of collaboration among the partners, a strong level of engagement and leadership within the community, and the likelihood that the project would result in long-term, sustainable changes that have the potential to impact the health of residents.

The cohort is made possible with the generous support of: the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, de Beaumont Foundation, Episcopal Health Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc., New Jersey Health Initiatives, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

You can learn more about the Build Health Challenge® by visiting

We are thrilled to have been selected for @ BUILD_Health Challenge’s Third Cohort! We are embarking on a two-plus-year endeavor to improve health in New Brunswick along with 17 other awardees across the US. Together with New Brunswick Tomorrow, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Saint Peter’s University Hospital, and the Middlesex County Office of Health Services, we aim to create systems change to impact health at the local level. Learn how we’re driving sustainable improvements in community health here: