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Congratulations to
Mayors Wellness Campaign
Grant Recipients


See Caption Below
The grant recipients and sponsors of the Aetna Wellness Grants pose at the League Conference in Atlantic City. Pictured (left to right) are League Executive Director Bill Dressel; Hamilton Township (Mercer) Mayor Glen Gilmore; Wharton Mayor Bill Chegwidden; Garfield Municipal Clerk and Assistant City Manager Drew Pavlica (accepting on behalf of Garfield Mayor Frank Calandriello); Mayors Wellness Campaign Director Ann McDonald; Nathan Drapkin, Sales Vice PResident, Aetna Government and Labor Division, Eastampton Mayor Donald Hartman,; and Madison Mayor Ellwood "Woody" Kerkeslager.

New Jersey’s Mayors Wellness Campaign (MWC), a partner of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, announced at this November’s annual League of Municipalities Conference the recipients of “Aetna Wellness Grants” to towns that have demonstrated a commitment to the principles of the MWC and pledged to get their town’s citizens leading more active lifestyles.

“The League is thrilled with the participation in the Mayors Wellness Campaign by so many of our towns and we salute the five towns which have made such remarkable progress already,” said William G. Dressel Jr., Executive Director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. “We are hopeful that local leadership will make a real difference in our fight against obesity.”

The recipients are: Eastampton in Burlington County, Garfield in Bergen County, Hamilton Township in Mercer County, and Wharton in Morris County. The four towns were provided with $500 grants by Aetna to help implement MWC programs. The town of Madison in Morris County was also recognized for its work and is a prior recipient of funding from Aetna.

Aetna, a major sponsor of the MWC is providing the grants in recognition and support of the towns’ efforts to create programs to improve the health and wellness of its citizens as part of the MWC. The grants are intended to be used fund additional programs and tools promoted in the New Jersey Mayors Wellness Campaign “Toolbox.”

“Aetna is committed to helping all people achieve and maintain health and wellness. We believe that the Mayors Wellness Campaign, along with community support, can improve the lives of New Jersey residents,” said Brian McGarry, vice president, Aetna National Accounts.

“We know local initiatives are critical to addressing health issues such as obesity, but we also understand that they can be difficult to launch. That’s why we are so pleased the Mayors Wellness Campaign provides information and tools that mayors can use to positively impact inactivity, obesity and the associated health risks for their residents,” says Nathan Drapkin, sales vice president, Aetna Government and Labor Division.


More than 100 New Jersey Mayors pledged their support to the Mayors Wellness Campaign at the New Jersey State League's Conference, bringing the total number of participating municipalities to 173.


The MWC supports mayors as champions of community health. The goal is to increase opportunities for New Jersey residents to participate in daily physical activity with a long-term goal of reducing health care costs secondary to obesity. Through public-private partnerships, the MWC provides structure and resources for healthy community initiatives. By encouraging mayors to play a leadership role in supporting local opportunities for active, healthy lifestyles, the intent of the MWC is to improve health and make New Jersey a national leader in community-based health interventions.

Earlier this year, each of the 566 mayors in New Jersey were mailed the MWC “Toolbox,” a manual designed to guide them through the implementation of wellness programs. Broken down into four major sections – Youth in Motion, Employees in Motion, Seniors in Motion, and Communities in Motion – the Toolbox outlines programs that can be directly used in every community in New Jersey. To access the Toolbox or to learn more about the initiative, visit www.mayorswellnesscampaign.org.

Eastampton was selected for recognition because it was an early supporter of the Mayors Wellness Campaign and for its emphasis on putting its “Community in Motion:”

Mayor Donald Hartman launched the “Campaign for a Healthy Eastampton” this past June. This event was sponsored by the town in conjunction with its pledge to participate in the MWC and included a community walk. Participants in the walk received free pedometers, walking log books, maps and tips for stretching exercises. The effort was guided by a local physical therapist. The town also asked those participating to complete a brief registration form and survey to use as a baseline to judge the effectiveness of its program. Incentive programs were put in place to reward citizens who became active.

In September, Eastampton distributed a recreational survey town-wide with its newsletter in order to gain a better understanding of the interests of the community with regard to physical activity. The town also hosts an annual 5K run and walk which features the town’s many walking and running trails. Finally, Eastampton is amongst the state’s leaders in careful and strategic open space planning which involved the participation of the public and promoted pedestrian and bicycle use.

Garfield was selected for recognition because of its early support of the Mayors Wellness Campaign and its particular emphasis on putting “Youth in Motion.”

Garfield Mayor Frank Calandriello created Garfield’s own Childhood Obesity Task Force to tackle this critical public health issue. The Taskforce created the F.U.N. (Fitness, Unity and Nutrition) Program in January of 2006 and launched the Ramapo and Meadowlands Survival (RAMS) camp this past summer to teach Garfield teachers and students how to integrate fitness and nutrition activities into their academic curriculum, and ultimately, their everyday lives. The RAMS camp was presented at the 18th Annual National Health Education Conference this past August in Nashville, TN. The town is currently in the process of creating a Garfield F.U.N. Resource Guide, which will contain walking maps, healthy tips for families and a directory of community health resources. The town has set a goal of having five percent of its residents participate in walking clubs by the end of 2007. They are also developing a “Safe Routes to Schools” program.

Hamilton was selected for recognition because of its early support of the Mayors Wellness Campaign and its emphasis on putting its “Community in Motion.”

Mayor Glen Gilmore took the lead this past September by putting together a program which saw Hamilton partner with its two hospitals – St. Francis Medical Center and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton – as well as other community organizations to officially launch the Mayors Wellness Campaign in a big way. The Mayor challenged the residents of Hamilton to get healthier and put in place an impressive array of incentives, including scholarships and monthly prize to get them motivated.

In conjunction with the MWC, Hamilton announced a “Strive-for-Five” wellness program which challenged families to get a yearly physical examination, get ample sleep, cut back on sweets, eat three, well-balanced meals a day, and stay physically active. Hamilton also has a “Sidewalks to Schools Initiative,” which helps to fill in many sidewalk gaps from residential areas to the township’s schools as well as the Mayor’s “School Zone Safety Initiative,” which studies the kind of infrastructure improvements needed near schools to make it safer for parents to allow their children to stay active and walk to school, rather than be driven.

Madison was selected for recognition because of its early support of the Mayors Wellness Campaign and its emphasis on putting its entire “Community in Motion,” particularly “Employers and Seniors in Motion.”

Mayor Ellwood “Woody” Kerkeslager has been a leading proponent of the Mayors Wellness Campaign since its inception in 2005. Mayor Kerkeslager chartered a comprehensive health and wellness task force to evaluate the needs and priorities for the community and is in the process of conducting a walkability assessment, as recommended by the MWC. Working with one the town’s largest employers, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Aetna and the area YMCA, Madison launched a program last spring to get its seniors more active and to emphasize fitness among Wyeth employees as well. The Aetna Foundation awarded Madison a $500 grant to help build a website to promote the walks and better health for seniors.

Wharton was selected for recognition because of its emphasis on putting “Youth in Motion.”

Mayor Bill Chegwidden worked closely with Wharton schools to create a comprehensive Wharton program to improve the physical environment of the town and encourage a social climate to support the ability of its children to walk and bicycle safely to school. In August 2006, the Wharton Borough Council and Public School Board designated the 2006-2007 school year as “Safe Routes to School Year” by joint resolution. Students themselves activity participated in developing a “School Travel Plan” by participating in “walkability” audits, creating a “walking time radius” map, creating art work depicting walking and biking to school, and, participating in a “bicycle safety rodeo.” In the fall of 2005, Wharton Borough was selected by the Morris County Division of Transportation to develop a pilot Safe Routes to School program with federal funding through the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA). Wharton was chosen because school and municipal officials together enthusiastically supported community participation in International Walk to School Day (the first Wednesday in October).

“These five towns have taken significant steps to implement programs which we hope will improve the overall health of their town’s citizens and move us closer to our goal of reducing the incidence of obesity in New Jersey by five percent by the year 2010,” said Ann McDonald, Project Manager for the MWC. “We are proud to have them as our partners.”

More than 100 New Jersey mayors pledged their support to the Mayors Wellness Campaign at the New Jersey State League’s Conference, bringing the total number of participating municipalities to 173 and extending the active living and health lifestyle effort to nearly one-third of the entire state.

The municipalities currently supporting the MWC are Absecon, Alexandria, Alpine, Asbury Park, Atlantic Highlands, Barrington, Bass River, Bellmawr, Berkeley, Berlin, Bernards, Blairstown, Bloomfield, Bloomingdale, Bogota, Boonton, Branchburg, Butler, Califon, Cape May, Cape May Point, Camden, Carneys Point, Borough of Chester, Chester Township, Clementon, Clifton, Closter, Denville, Dumont, East Hanover, East Orange, East Windsor, Eastampton, Edgewater, Elizabeth, Elmer, Evesham, Fairfield, Fairlawn, Flemington, Franklin, Franklin (Pittstown), Frelinghuysen, Frenchtown, Garfield, Garwood, Gibbsboro, Glassboro, Glen Gardner, Glen Ridge, Gloucester Twp., Green Brook Twp., Greenwich (Warren), Greenwich (Gloucester), Guttenberg, Hackettstown, Hampton (Newton), Hamilton (Mercer), Hardwick, Hawthorne, Highland Park, Hightstown, Hillsborough, Hoboken, Holmdel, Hope, Hopewell Borough, Jackson, Jamesburg, Jefferson, Keansburg, Kenilworth, Keyport, Kinnelon, Lake Como, Lambertville, Lawrence, Lebanon Borough, Little Ferry, Little Egg Harbor, Long Beach, Long Branch, Lumberton, Madison, Manalapan, Manchester, Manville, Marlboro, Medford, Metuchen, Middle Twp., Millburn, Mine Hill, Montgomery, Montvale, Moonachie, Moorestown, Morris, Mullica, National Park, Neptune City, New Milford, Newton, North Bergen, North Plainfield, Northfield, Nutley, Ocean (Waretown), Ocean (Oakhurst), Ocean Gate, Old Tappan, Oldman, Oradell, Parsipanny (Troy Hills), Paulsboro, Peapack-Gladstone, Pequannock, Phillipsburg, Pine Beach, Pine Hill, Pitman, Point Pleasant Beach, Pompton Lakes, Randolph, Ridgefield, Ringwood, River Edge, River Vale, Rochelle Park, Rockaway, Rockleigh, Roseland, Roselle Park, Runnemede, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Salem, Seaside Park, Somerville, South Plainfield, South River, South Toms River, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, Stone Harbor, Stratford, Summit, Sussex, Tabernacle, Tewksbury, Totowa, Union Township (Union), Union Township (Hunterdon), Upper Saddle River, Wanaque, Washington (Long Valley), Washington Twp., Washington Borough, Watchung, Waterford, Wayne, West Deptford, West Milford, West Windsor, Weymouth, Wharton, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, Willingboro, Woodbine, Woodbridge, and Woolwich.

The MWC is an initiative of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (www.njhcqi.org) in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities (www.njslom.org). Major funding has been provided by Aetna and BeneCard. Additional funding has been provided by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, St. Francis Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital—Hamilton, Johnson & Johnson, Pennoni Associates, Pfizer Inc. and Bayville Holdings, LLC. The Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, the Regional Plan Association and the Ramapo College Nursing Program were instrumental in the research and development of the MWC during its initial stages.

rough, Watchung, Waterford, Wayne, West Deptford, West Milford, West Windsor, Weymouth, Wharton, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, Willingboro, Woodbine, Woodbridge, and Woolwich.

The MWC is an initiative of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (www.njhcqi.org) in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities (www.njslom.org). Major funding has been provided by Aetna and BeneCard. Additional funding has been provided by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, St. Francis Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital—Hamilton, Johnson & Johnson, Pennoni Associates, Pfizer Inc. and Bayville Holdings, LLC. The Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, the Regional Plan Association and the Ramapo College Nursing Program were instrumental in the research and development of the MWC during its initial stages.

 

 

 

Article published in January 2007, New Jersey Municipalities

 

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