New Jersey Health Initiative: Survey Results

Healthy Plainfield: Survey Results Reveal Compelling Data Affecting Residents

UWGUC President & CEO, James Horne addresses community leaders and residents during review of survey results conducted to determine a holistic program that will build on a healthier sustainable environment for residents in the city of Plainfield.

Update regarding the Healthy Plainfield Initiative, a grant awarded to United Way of Greater Union County (UWGUC) by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to build a culture of health in Plainfield

In March, United Way of Greater Union County and the Healthy Plainfield Leadership Taskforce invited various community leaders and Plainfield residents to attend a meeting to review results from surveys, census data and focus groups intended to identify health barriers that affect Plainfield residents. 
Nearly 1000 surveys taken and ten focus groups conducted with students, community and faith based organizations, Latino Civic groups and other key stakeholders, revealed a diverse population of those that live and work in Plainfield.  With 83% of surveys completed were from Plainfield residents; 51% African American and 39% Latino; 23% were below poverty level and average respondents were between the ages of 25-34.  61% were born in the U.S. and 39% were foreign born.
Results taken identified multiple issues:
  • Obesity and its impact on health outcomes
  • Access to Care -Lack of insurance, Health Literacy
  • High levels of poverty and its impact
  • Unhealthy Behavior-Substance abuse and sexual health
  • Unsafe Housing-Environmental risks and living conditions
The data was categorized under four main areas: Health Behaviors, Socioeconomic Factors, Clinical Care and Physical Environment.  For example, regarding issues affecting Health Behaviors, there were 396 individuals admitted for substance abuse in 2015; 45% were due to heroin use- that is higher than both state and county levels.  In Clinical Care, nearly 30% of Plainfield residents do not have health insurance including 55% of the city's Hispanic population.  Socioeconomic Factors revealed that 18% of Plainfield residents 25 years of age and older, have less than a high school education and 31% obtained a diploma or GED as opposed to 86% of Union County residents who have a high school diploma/GED and 88% of high school graduates in the state. A Plainfield resident who attended the meeting remarked how compelling and remarkable the results were, saying, "I had no idea, I'm truly surprised".  Juanita Vargas, Vice President of Programs and Operations at United Way of Greater Union County said, "The data compiled from the surveys and focus groups will inform the planning process and development of long lasting results oriented initiatives for a healthier Plainfield community."
A copy of the PowerPoint presentation will be made available soon.
About Healthy Plainfield
Healthy Plainfield is an initiative that allows the community to develop long-term sustainable strategies to increase health outcomes for residents that is guided by data informed decisions.
About United Way of United Way of Greater Union County
United Way works with local government, businesses, non-profits, faith-based organizations and residents to improve lives and build strong communities by uniting individuals and organizations with the will, passion, expertise, and resources needed to solve problems.  Our commitment is to change the odds so that all children and their families, regardless of their circumstances, have the same chance to succeed in school and in life.   
About New Jersey Health Initiatives
New Jersey Health Initiatives is the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Established in 1987 in honor of the New Jersey philanthropic legacy of RWJF’s founder, Robert Wood Johnson, NJHI supports innovations and drives conversations to build healthier communities through grantmaking across the State of New Jersey. To meet the many health needs of our state’s diverse populations, regions and communities, the NJHI program encourages collaboration across sectors to foster deep relationships committed to long-term change affording all New Jerseyans the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Learn more about NJHI at, and follow us on Twitter at
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the largest private foundation in New Jersey and has worked for more than 40 years to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. RWJF has invested more than $900 million in New Jersey since 1972. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at