News & Announcements

Henry J. Austin Health Center in Partnership with the Trenton Health Team Receives $150,000 Grant

From Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives Will Redesign Staff Roles to Improve Patient Care Without Increasing Costs

Trenton, NJ (November 20, 2013)-Improving patient care while keeping costs low is ever more challenging given the growing shortage of doctors and nurses, and the expected increase in insured patients seeking primary care under the Affordable Care Act. Today the Henry J. Austin Health Center in partnership with the Trenton Health Team announced the receipt of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) Primary Care Workforce Innovations program to explore new ways to reorganize the current staffing in physician’s offices and clinics to improve patient outcomes without increasing costs.

“The current and growing shortage of primary care providers, especially physicians and nurses, underscores the need to redesign the way primary care is organized and delivered in all types of settings,” says Bob Atkins, NJHI Director. NJHIis a statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), reinforcing the Foundation’s commitment to improving health and health care in its home state.

“This grant will allow us to develop the roles of our clinical staff to ensure that they’re functioning at their highest potential. At the end of the day highly trained staff make for improved quality of care delivered and thus improves the health outcomes of our patients,” said Dr. Kemi Alli, Chief Medical Officer at Henry J. Austin.

The RWJF NJHI grants were awarded to seven primary care practices in New Jersey to re-engineer the work of their existing medical and office staff and participate in a learning network to capture and share their evidence and best practices over the next two years. Ranging from federally qualified health centers in Trenton, Jersey City, Perth Amboy, and Dover, to private or hospital-owned family practices in New Brunswick, Lambertville, and Edison, their patients encompass all ages and economic circumstances.

“Whether through cross-training to increase staff skills to provide the widest range of patient services, or more efficient teamwork, or using technology such as electronic medical records,” Atkins continues, “these medical offices are committed to implementing creative workforce models to improve their patients’ experience, satisfaction and outcomes while keeping costs as low as possible.”

In addition to grants to the medical practices participating in the NJHI Primary Care Workforce Innovations program, RWJF awarded $800,000 to Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc. (HQSI), the federally designated Quality Improvement Organization for New Jersey. HQSI will conduct extensive site visits at each office, customize and monitor their staff redesign plans for continued course improvement, and convene the grantees multiple times in person as well as online for shared learning.

About the Trenton Health Team
Trenton Health Team (THT) is an alliance of the city’s major providers of healthcare services including Capital Health, St. Francis Medical Center, Henry J. Austin Health Center and the city’s Health Department. In collaboration with residents and the city’s active social services network, THT is developing an integrated healthcare delivery system to transform the city’s fragmented primary care system and restore health to the city. THT aims to make Trenton the healthiest city in the state. The THT receives generous support from The Nicholson Foundation, corporate partners and other foundations. For more information, visit