Social Innovation Awards Recognize IHC Founder, Grantees for Exceptional Work in Public Health and Social Sector

Inclusive Healthy Communities
March 7, 2023

The New Jersey Social Innovation Awards have been announced, and we are delighted to see so many individuals and organizations associated with the IHC program among the winners, including Peri Nearon, executive director of the NJ Division of Disability Services and founder of the IHC grant program.

The Awards recognize agencies and leaders doing innovative, impactful work in the public health and social sectors. Members of the IHC community listed below were singled out for their efforts to reduce health disparities, improve quality of life, and promote community inclusion of people with disabilities.

Join us in congratulating the winners and all the nominees. Please share this announcement on your social media platforms by clicking on the buttons below.


Peri Nearon
Executive Director, NJ Department of Disability Services, NJ Department of Human Services

1st place

Category: Healthy Communities

Innovative service models integrating social determinants of health and health care, services that strengthen families, and approaches that ensure a healthy environment and other community conditions.

We have two awardees in this category:

Julia Taylor, Trenton Health Team
1st place

Jennifer Papa, City Green
2nd place

Category: Innovative Models for Achieving Health Equity

Innovative strategies or models of care that reduce health disparities and/or improve social or economic conditions.

Dr. Wendy Aita and Dr. Jennifer LeComte, Rowan Integrated Special Needs Center
1st place 

Category: Innovation in Services for Special Populations, Including People with Intellectual Disability and/or Autism, Mental Health Challenges, and Older Adults

Innovative strategies and services that improve health outcomes and quality of life.

Family Resource Network
3rd place

Category: Community Voice Impact

Novel strategies to promote community voice inclusion and belonging that influence program and/or policy, with a focus on improving health equity for medically underserved populations at greatest risk for poor health.

Ellie Willoughby, The J-Cares Intern Program, A Department of Developmental Disabilities recognized program located at the Shimon & Sara Birnbaum JCC in Bridgewater, NJ
Runner up

Category: Innovative Partnerships 

Innovative through a cross-sector approach to solving complex social or environmental issues on a large scale, especially to help those with complex needs.

Dan Rhoton, Hopeworks
(Hopeworks is a partner of an IHC grantee)
1st place

Category: Workforce Development 

Innovative service models leading to earning a living wage and economic freedom, especially targeted to typically marginalized groups.

Kate Kelly, Integrated Community Project Manager, Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey
1st place

Category: Legislative Impact

Innovation through policy reform and improvements in financial models to improve service delivery and reduce barriers to care.

Congratulations to all!