NJ First Lady Tammy Murphy Hosts Salem Family Festival, Highlights Family Services

By: Dean P. Johnson, Follow South Jersey Editor-in-Chief

Follow South Jersey Editor-in-Chief Dean Johnson talks with New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy at the Salem Family Festival. Photo credit: Cheri Johnson.

SALEM, N.J. – Under overcast skies and dodging passing showers, hundreds of Salem county residents walked along Market Street in Salem visiting the dozens of booths centered around health and family services at the Salem Family Festival on Saturday, June 24.

Hosted by New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers, the event featured free food, music, face painting, raffle prizes, and more.

The Family Festival gave residents the opportunity to talk with representatives of local care, support, and resources including services for expectant and new mothers, healthcare, housing support, food assistance, child care, and energy assistance among others.

County residents were able to visit booths sponsored by Inspira Health, Salem County Department of Health and Human Services, The Salem Health and Wellness Foundation, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Food Bank of South Jersey, NJ Commision for the Blind and Visually Impaired,  and New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission among other community services.

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy said that events like this are important, especially here in South Jersey.

“There are healthcare challenges down here,” Murphy said. “It should not be that way down here, not in the state of New Jersey.”

According to Country Health Rankings & Roadmaps, Salem County ranks last among New Jersey counties for health outcomes which tells “how long people live on average within a community, and how much physical and mental health people experience in a community,” according to their website.

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute with support provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation compiles the rankings which gives local communities data on more than 90 health-influencing factors including access to quality health care, education, housing, physical environment, child and infant mortality, jobs and more.

The study further found that Salem County had the state’s highest adult obesity rate at 39%, followed by Cumberland at 36%, Gloucester and Atlantic at 32%, and Salem County’s ratio of residents to primary care physicians is 2,722 to 1.

Murphy said that events like these are important to give people information about services that are available to them.

“Everything we’re doing now will help in the long run,” she said.

The First Lady says she hopes events like the Salem Family Festival will help lead to more transformational change.

“We’re not done yet,” she said.

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