New Jersey Population Health Cohort Study

OVERVIEW

The New Jersey Population Health Cohort Study is the largest study to date to explore factors that influence health and well-being in the state. Beginning in 2021, the study seeks to improve our understanding of how life events and stress affect health and resilience, particularly within historically disadvantaged groups, multigenerational families, and immigrant groups. The study will generate new knowledge that will help us build a healthier, more equitable New Jersey.

BACKGROUND

New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the nation and nearly a quarter of its residents are immigrants. While the state also ranks among the wealthiest, there are significant and persistent health disparities. We also know that there are other social factors that impact health and well-being.

  • In Mercer County, Trenton residents have an average life expectancy of 73 years, but just 13 miles away, in Princeton, that number jumps to 87 years. 
  • More than one in 10 New Jerseyans do not ­have a steady place to live or are worried about losing their homes. Housing instability disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities and low socioeconomic status households.
  • Black and Latinx hospital employees were twice as likely as white health care workers to contract coronavirus, a Rutgers study found. Support staff in health care settings with and without patient care responsibilities also had a higher risk of COVID-19.
  • The maternal death rate in New Jersey is almost twice the national average, and black mothers are more than three times as likely as white mothers to die from pregnancy-related complications.

We need more data, collected over time, to better understand the factors that contribute to these disparities and the impacts on health and well-being. The New Jersey Population Health Cohort Study, led by the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, aims to collect these data to gain insights and help improve the health and lives of all New Jersey residents.

RESEARCH

The study will enroll up to 10,000 participants from across New Jersey, with an emphasis on historically disadvantaged groups, multi-generational families, and immigrant groups, including: South Asian Indian, Chinese, Dominican, Filipino, Korean, Mexican, Nigerian, Afro-Caribbean and/or refugees/asylees. Researchers will combine information from participant surveys and other sources such as lab tests and activity measures to help understand factors that drive better health and wellbeing. The study is led by XinQi Dong, MD, MPH, director of the Institute for Health and Joel C. Cantor, ScD, director of the Institute for Health’s Center for State Health Policy.

ACTION

The New Jersey Population Health Cohort Study is being conducted with the active involvement of community representatives and stakeholders – from study design to communicating results and lessons. To get involved or for more information contact community@ifh.rutgers.edu.

Support for this study was provided in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

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