Believe in a Healthy Newark is a Culture of Health Initiative aimed at addressing social determinants of health in order to improve health outcomes for the residents of the South and West Wards of Newark.


The Believe in a Healthy Newark initiative started in 2015 with funding from the New Jersey Health Initiatives Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action program. As one of ten original grantees, we partnered with New Jersey Health Initiatives to develop projects that would address the social determinants of health that significantly contribute to health outcomes.  The steering committee of BHN includes leaders from community-based organizations, academia, local government, health care organizations and philanthropy.  After an initial planning year, we decided to develop three Impact Teams focusing on Food and Fitness, Healthy Homes and Adverse Childhood Experiences.  During the past 5 years we have partnered with a number of community-based organizations to focus on lead poisoning, food insecurity and trauma.  Since 2019, BHN has been funded by a generous grant from the United Way of Greater NewarkThe mission of our coalition has been expanded because of the enormous challenge we all face as we seek to successfully address the COVID 19 pandemic. Our additional new mission is to do our part in helping the Greater Newark community remain healthy during this crisis.



Ketlen Baptiste-Alsbrook

Chief of Staff

Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness

Darrin Anderson

Executive Director and CEO

NJ YMCA State Alliance Wellness/ NJ Partnership for Healthy Kids

Michael Bright

President and CEO

YMCA of Newark and Vicinity


Craig Drinkard

Co-Executive Director

Victoria Foundation

Keri Logosso-Misurell

Executive Director

Greater Newark Health Care Coalition

Leslie Kantor

Professor and Chair

Department of Urban- Global Public Health, Rutgers School of Public Health

Adaobi Ndupu

Director of Health

United Way of Greater Newark

Denise V. Rodgers

Vice Chancellor for Interprofessional Programs

Rutgers Biomedical & Health Sciences

Chair, BHN Steering Committee

John Mooney

Founding Editor and Executive Director

NJ Spotlight News

Rafael E. Pérez-Figueroa, MD, MPH

Associate Dean of Community Engagement and Public Health Practice; Associate Professor of Urban-Global Public Health

Rutgers University School of Public Health

Pete Rosario

President and CEO

La Casa de Don Pedro, Inc

Amina Bey

Executive director of Newark Emergency Services for Families, Inc.

Charles Venti


Inventive Strategies, LLC

Catherine Wilson

President & CEO

United Way of Greater Newark

User Blank

Deniqua Matias

Executive Director of Clinton Hill Community & Early Childhood Center, Inc.

Jorge Cruz

Executive Director

New Jersey Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Kaleena K. Berryman

Executive Directorce

Newark Youth Career Pathways Program/Newark Alliance

Partner Organizations