New Jersey Department of Health

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is a governmental agency of the U.S. state of New Jersey. New Jersey's State Board of Health was established in 1877. Its administrative functions were vested in the Department of Health, which was created in 1947. In 1996, the latter was renamed the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).[2] In 2012, senior services programs moved back into the Department of Human Services, and DHSS again became the Department of Health.[3]

State of New Jersey
Department of Health
Seal of New Jersey.svg
Agency overview
Preceding agency
  • New Jersey State Board of Health
JurisdictionNew Jersey
Headquarters369 S. Warren Street, Trenton, New Jersey 08608
Agency executive


The department oversees numerous types of health facilities, for example hospitals, family planning, psychiatric hospitals, drug abuse treatment, primary care facilities, nursing homes, hospice care, assisted living, adult day care, and therapies and tests such as hemodialysis.[4] There are four branches: Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, Office of Population Health, Health Systems, and Public Health Services.[5] The department regulates medical marijuana in the state. Although it allows edibles to be cooked at home, it does not allow dispensaries to sell or manufacture edibles.[6]


The Commissioners of the New Jersey Department of Health have spanned 22 terms:


In 2006, New Jersey’s Department of Health and Senior Services began licensing private medevac helicopter companies to supplement State Police helicopters.[11] In December 2007, the Public Health Council of New Jersey approved the first state policy in the United States mandating flu vaccines for all New Jersey children, in order for those children to be allowed to attend preschools and day-care centers.[12]

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services approved the decision of Memorial Hospital of Salem County on April 1, 2014. The health department noted that the hospital had only one obstetrician at the staff, and births at the hospital had dropped from 385 in 2004 to 155 in 2012. As a condition of the closure, the hospital was still required to transport patients to other inpatient maternity services, or provide emergency stabilization to women arrive pregnant, and delivery in cases where birth is imminent. A local healthcare union spoke out against the decision, and Health Professionals and Allied Employees argued the closure would negatively affect local income-women. In the end of May 2014, the hospital closed its maternity ward.[13]

In 2017, the NJ Department of Health joined with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to warn residents that New Jersey homes were at a high risk of naturally-occurring radon gas leaking in, and killing residents. 22 areas in New Jersey were listed as high risk, with many of the areas concentrated in Northwest New Jersey.[14] Also in April 2017, Paterson councilman Michael Jackson stated that because every municipality did not have its own board of health, Paterson was "currently operating illegally." He said that the city council was legally obligated to fulfill duties as the de facto Board of Health, and hold one annual meeting. His argument fell into dispute.[15]

In 2018, the department found in an investigation that around 3,000 patients could have been exposed to bloodborne diseases at Saddle Brook, New Jersey.[16][17] In late October 2018 the department sent a team of infection control experts and epidemiologists to several pediatric healthcare facilities in the state to "assess infection-control procedures and to train staff," after deaths in the 2018 United States adenovirus outbreak at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.[18] On October 13, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Health clarified they were investigating 26 cases with nine deaths, all at Wanaque.[19]

On April 5, 2019, the NJ Department of Health reported that New Jersey had seen 13 measles cases that year,[20] and that 13,000 New Jersey schoolchildren or more were unvaccinated.[21] In April 2019, health officials from the department responded to a possible measles outbreak at a New Jersey restaurant.[22]


  • State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) - a statewide program of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.[23]
  • Doulas - In 2019, The New Jersey Department of Health put $450,000 into creating a doula program in areas with high black infant mortality rates.[24]
  • Lead testing - The department funds an initiative to hand out free lead kits to families in New Jersey.[25]
  • Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) - In April 2017, it became known that the NJ Department of Health was working with the New Jersey Hospital Association to jointly develop electronic access for the POLST initiative, which was signed by the governor in 2011 to allow New Jersey residents to detail their healthcare choices.[26]
  • Zika Hotline - As well as a pregnancy registry, the department maintains a Zika hotline.[27]
  • Population Health Heroes - In 2017, the department accepted applications to name several people from New Jersey as Population Health Heroes.[28]
  • ScreenNJ - The New Jersey Department of Health in 2019 developed the ScreenNJ cancer screening initiative with the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.[29]


The department sometimes releases its own studies, and comments on other studies that use its data. For example, the department collects data on fatal work injuries in New Jersey.[30] According to the department, around 1,500 New Jersey resident died in 2014 from kidney disease, making kidney disease the ninth leading cause of death for state residents.[31] The department keeps a Zika Pregnancy Registry to watch for Zika, and out of 59 pregnant women on the registry, 23 babies tested positive by April 2017.[27]

The New Jersey Department of Health Medicinal Marijuana Program released its report that suggested that new dispensaries would be required to meet an increased demand and help lower prices for patients. It also called for raising the monthly marijuana limits.[32]


  1. ^ NJ health department website
  2. ^ "NJDARM: New Jersey State Archives Holdings: Department of Health and related agencies - Administrative Records". New Jersey Department of State Division of Archives & Records Management. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
  3. ^ "Governor Christie Takes Action on Reorganization". Press Release dated 29 June 2012. NJ Office of the Governor. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Facilities and types at the NJ health department". NJ Department of Health.
  5. ^ "About Us". New Jersey Department of Health.
  6. ^ "A how-to class teaches N.J. patients to cook with cannabis". March 27, 2017.
  7. ^ Livio, Susan K. (9 November 2017). "Christie appoints 9/11 responder to N.J.'s top health post".
  8. ^ "The Main Page and Chart". New Jersey Department of Health.
  9. ^ "Commissioner of the Department". New Jersey Department of Health. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  10. ^ "After 11 died at Wanaque nursing home, Murphy signs law to prevent future deadly outbreaks". August 15, 2019. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  11. ^ "Increase in South Jersey helicopter medevacs cuts response times, not controversy". Press of Atlantic City. February 10, 2013.
  12. ^ "Preschoolers' parents protest required flu shots". NBC News. Associated Press. October 16, 2008.
  13. ^ "Memorial Hospital of Salem County to close maternity ward". author Alex Young. April 8, 2014.
  14. ^ "These New Jersey Towns Possibly Exposed To Cancer-Causing Gas, State Says". By Tom Davis. Hopatcong Patch. January 10, 2017.
  15. ^ "Paterson councilman questions structure of health department". by Jayed Rahman. Paterson Times. April 13, 2017.
  16. ^ "NJ Surgery Center Blood Infections Warning". CNN. December 12, 2014.
  17. ^ "Report shows several safety infractions at NJ surgery center that exposed patients to HIV". December 28, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  18. ^ "Tenth Child Dies from Viral Outbreak at New Jersey Facility". Reuters. November 1, 2018.
  19. ^ "NJ Department of Health sends infection control teams to fight adenovirus". News 12 New Jersey. October 13, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  20. ^ "Lacey superintendent: Student tested negative for measles". April 11, 2019. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  21. ^ "At least 13,000 N.J. school children are unvaccinated. Use our tool to find out the risk in your district". April 9, 2019. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  22. ^ "Measles Outbreak: Health Officials Comb Through New Jersey Restaurant After Possible Measles Outbreak". CBS New York. April 23, 2019. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  23. ^ "Warrenbrook Senior Center offers bounty of March programs". New Jersey Hills. February 26, 2017.
  24. ^ "How doulas help women with maternal health". NJTV News. March 25, 2019.
  25. ^ "Newark Nonprofit Distributes Lead Kits To Local Families". Newark Patch. April 15, 2017.
  26. ^ "Electronic POLST Puts End-of-Life Wishes in the Patient's Hands". By Cathleen Bennett and Betsy Ryan. and the Star-Ledger. April 14, 2017.
  27. ^ a b "When mother's infected, Zika harms one-in-10 babies, says CDC". Kathleen O'Brien. April 4, 2017.
  28. ^ "NJ Department of Health seeks Population Health Heroes". Shore News Today. February 11, 2017.
  29. ^ "Rutgers Cancer Institute gets 'comprehensive' designation, $15m grant". April 24, 2019. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  30. ^ "BLS Report Finds New Jersey Fatal Work Injuries Increased in 2015". Insurance Journal. March 23, 2017.
  31. ^ "Kidney Disease is Ninth Leading Cause of Death in New Jersey". By Lauren Wanko. NJTV News. March 24, 2017.
  32. ^ "New Jersey Marijuana Patients Need Lower Prices, More Weed: NJDOH". The Patch. April 1, 2019. Retrieved May 12, 2019.

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