By STEVE LENOX
PRINCETON, NJ — After being awarded a 2019 Healthy Town to Watch designation from the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI), the City of Paterson was recently named just one of eight New Jersey Municipalities to earn the designation of “healthy town” for 2020.
A participant in the Mayors Wellness Campaign, a program of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, Paterson earned the title by continuing its effort to create a healthier community, even in the midst of a pandemic.
“Although we would have never anticipated a pandemic, we quickly repurposed our wellness campaign to keep our residents safe during this crisis,” said Mayor Andre Sayegh. “Our focus was on the mental and physical health of Patersonians and how the Mayors Wellness Campaign could help conquer COVID-19. We are honored that our efforts have been recognized by the Quality Institute and we have received the Healthy Town designation.”
In a statement, the NJHCQI lauded Sayegh for being a “true champion for the program” which included his wife, Paterson First Lady Farhanna Sayegh, hosting women’s workouts in their own backyard.
Prior to the program’s shift to COVID-19 response, a kickoff event, “Mayor’s Walk To The Great Falls,” was held in January. The event which included over 200 participants, including students from nearby schools, walked from City Hall down to the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. This event yielded over 200 participants and was also on Facebook Live so that those unable to participate could still witness the event.
“Out of every tragedy must come lessons,” Sayegh told TAPinto Paterson when asked about the designation as a Healthy Town. “COVID-19 reminded us that we must be proactive about our health, and that’s why my Administration is going to continue to do everything we can to fight food insecurity, make our parks accessible to and for all residents, and continually seek ways to improve our recreation programming.”