Victoria Gregorio PhD ’18 and colleagues earn Partnership Award for Social Determinants of Health project

March 2, 2023

Alumnus Victoria Porterfield Gregorio PhD ’18 and colleagues at RWJ Barnabas Health Children’s Specialized Hospital were the recipients of a 2022 Partnership Award from the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC).

The award highlights inspiring and innovative partnerships among patients, families, and healthcare professionals and recognizes one hospital and one health authority whose work addresses relevant healthcare issues.

The team accepting the award included Donna Provenzano, Director of Patient and Family Centered Care, CSH; Linda Waddell, Family Faculty, CSH; Dr. Gregorio, and Dr. Matthew B. McDonald III, Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, CSH.

Dr. Gregorio was hired as one of the inaugural Directors for the Center for Discovery, Innovation, and Development at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Jan 2019, overseeing CSH’s social determinants of health (SDOH) work as well as the hospital’s health equity work. CSH has 15 locations across the state of NJ and serves children with special healthcare needs and their families.

Though social determinants of health influence part of more than 80% of health outcomes, she explained that “SDOH are things we don’t typically think of in healthcare–the food we eat, the communities we live in, and more.” Dr. Gregorio oversaw the creation and development of how the hospital screens for and embeds SDOH into CSH’s healthcare delivery so all patients would be screened and assisted with SDOH. Through the work of the project team, the hospital has screened over 15,000 families and provided resources to those who have an identified need. 

The program was developed in partnership with families who had the experience of raising a child with special needs. “We did this to ensure questions were asked sensitively, and in a way where the dignity of families was protected,” Dr. Gregorio said, “We also incorporated their input into the overall flow where providers and our social work team were integrated, again in a manner to help families who have needs in a respectful, non-intimidating way. The award recognized how we collaborated and effectively leveraged partnerships to enhance patient and/or family-centered care.”

More about the project can be found in the short video by the project team included on the awards announcement page.

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