New Jersey

New Jersey

New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the U.S. and one of the country’s most diverse. Of New Jersey’s 9 million residents, nearly a quarter are foreign born. While this diversity enriches our state, there are significant disparities in health and health care access that depend on such factors as age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status.

The economic disparities in New Jersey are pronounced. There are more millionaires per capita here than any other state in the country, but there is also significant urban poverty. In Rutgers’ home cities of New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden, as well as in Trenton, New Jersey’s capital, roughly a third of residents live below the poverty line. Even more striking is that these figures predate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since March 2020, pandemic-related economic hardships have resulted in business closures and loss of jobs, lack of access to health care, loss of housing, and food insecurity. For small businesses especially, the pandemic continues to inflict serious financial and operational challenges. ​ While all communities are suffering, low-income and minority communities—which experience systemic disadvantages in the best of times—are suffering disproportionately.

Equitable Recovery for New Jersey’s Small Businesses

Small businesses are vital to the fabric of their communities, and they are in peril. Minority- and women-owned businesses, which already were facing many obstacles prior to the pandemic, are struggling even more now. Low-income and minority communities also face greater risks of COVID-19 infection and death—a fact that poses a huge threat to our state’s overall recovery.

At Rutgers Global Health Institute, we are addressing these challenges through Equitable Recovery for New Jersey’s Small Businesses. This three-part program offers crucial support to small businesses and local nonprofit organizations, including faith-based organizations, in low-income and minority communities. The Equitable Recovery program includes:

  • Training that provides small businesses and nonprofits with the latest knowledge to help keep employers, employees, and customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Consultations that take into account the physical spaces and needs of each organization and provide tailored recommendations for operating safely; and
  • Resilience Network, which provides access to an array of support services that can help employers and employees navigate many complex issues related to COVID-19.

The Equitable Recovery program is underway in New Brunswick and Newark and will soon roll out in Trenton. Learn more about our efforts, partnerships, sponsors, and impact.


Many people and organizations are working together on Equitable Recovery for New Jersey’s Small Businesses. This list will grow as our program expands.

Program Sponsors
Bristol Myers Squibb
Johnson & Johnson Foundation
Merck & Co., Inc.
State of New Jersey, Department of Health

Community Partners in New Brunswick
Elijah’s Promise
New Brunswick City Center
New Brunswick Performing Arts Center
New Brunswick Tomorrow
New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Community Health Promotions
Rutgers Cooperative Extension
Rutgers VAX Corps
State of New Jersey, Department of Health
Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey

Community Partners in Newark
City of Newark, Newark People’s Assembly
City of Newark, Department of Health and Community Wellness
Family Manor Restaurant
Greater Abyssinian Baptist Church
North Jersey Community Research Initiative
Office of University-Community Partnerships, Rutgers University–Newark
Partnership West, Inc.
Rutgers Business School–Newark and New Brunswick
New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Rutgers University–Newark
South Ward Special Improvement District
State of New Jersey, Department of Health

Community Partners in Trenton
Greater Trenton
Trenton Health Team
State of New Jersey, Department of Health

Contribute to our efforts in New Jersey

The Equitable Recovery program is underway in Rutgers’ home cities of New Brunswick and Newark, and we are expanding to our capital city of Trenton. We are in need of additional funds to increase our impact and reach other vulnerable communities throughout New Jersey. To support these efforts, you can make a gift to our Health Equity in New Jersey Fund or contact Denise Gavala, associate vice president for development, for more information.

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