Public health policy gets renewed push

For years, public health leaders have warned about underinvestment in New Jersey’s system — a patchwork of local, county and state programs designed to keep residents safe and blunt the impact of disasters — and academics have documented these concerns. Many believe the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed many of the system’s flaws, may now be a tool to drive change.

“These problems are longstanding, but under COVID they came home to roost,” said Joel Cantor, director of the Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers University, who has worked on these issues for years.

A robust public health system is particularly important now, as New Jersey faces rising rates of mental illness, overdoses and emerging cancer spikes in the wake of the pandemic. 

NJ Spotlight, April 4, 2022