Trenton Health Team began as the response to closure of Mercer Medical Center and concerns about the effect on city residents who lacked consistent access to primary care and instead relied heavily on emergency rooms.
In 2006, then-Mayor Douglas Palmer engaged a consulting firm to assess healthcare conditions and analyze how losing the hospital would affect city residents. The firm, Katz Consulting Group, found that although Trenton was served by three hospitals, a Federally Qualified Health Center, and a city health clinic, residents lacked consistent access to primary care and instead relied on several disconnected providers, and area Emergency Departments.
THT faces the future with renewed energy, financial stability, and an expanded understanding of what a healthy Trenton would mean for our community and state.
As a result, the health status of Trenton residents was lower than their Mercer County neighbors and the rest of the State. Plus, heavy reliance on emergency rooms not only exponentially increased medical expenses, but also failed to provide patients with long-term health solutions.
The consultant recommended leaders from area healthcare stakeholders, including Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center, and the City of Trenton Department of Health and Human Services, work together to address these concerns.
As those healthcare providers found common ground, a partnership grew among former competitors. This consortium became Trenton Health Team, which registered as a nonprofit organization in 2010 and hired its first executive director in 2011.
THT has grown significantly since its founding, recently receiving designation as one of New Jersey’s first Regional Health Hubs. THT has expanded from one employee in 2011 to more than 40 in 2020.
THT staff and Board of Trustees have learned a tremendous amount from growing an informal partnership into a well-resourced nonprofit providing a wide array of programs and interventions. Some highlights include:
- Competitors become collaborators when supported by a trusted “backbone” organization
- Convening diverse stakeholders builds value across sectors
- Collaboration and alignment increase effectiveness, efficiency, and utilization of existing resources
- Innovation and improvement depend on access to robust data analysis
- Underlying causes of poor health outcomes are multi-faceted and many
- We must address both urgent needs and vital conditions
THT faces the future with renewed energy, financial stability, and an expanded understanding of what a healthy Trenton would mean for our community and state. We look forward to sustaining our partnerships, building new relationships and continuing this important work.