Victor Murray is Senior Director of Community Engagement and Capacity Building for the Camden Coalition, a Regional Health Hub and a member of the Quality Institute’s ACO Council.
As a Camden native, how have you seen the 20 years of the Camden Coalition impact your city?
I grew up in the City of Camden and I have been involved in the Camden Coalition for 13 years. Over the past 20 years, the Camden Coalition has grown and made impact through programs that support people who need housing, transportation, food … and perhaps also resources such as addiction services, mental health services, health care. First and foremost, we treat all people with dignity. Through the years we have come to understand that you cannot separate health care services from social services … what’s come to be known today as social determinants of health. Our thinking has evolved. Today we’re working with local providers and the health care community to reimagine what better health support looks like. Despite the progress, we still have considerable work ahead.
How does the Community Advisory Committee empower Camden citizens to participate?
Our Community Advisory Committee members come from across the community and provide insight on improving their own health as well as the health of their families and community members. The committee advises the Camden Coalition on community health initiatives and our strategic direction. It is our responsibility to provide a platform to amplify the community’s voice. Often, the system we represent at our organizations and institutions has done harm to the people we are trying to help. I have a quote in my office, “Moving at the speed of trust.”
What are some goals of the Camden Coalition in the coming years?
In terms of our mission, it is the same: to improve the lives of people with complex health and social needs. The thinking early on was that if we could simply connect people to primary care they would be taken care of. We discovered that fragmented and inequitable systems of care that touch our systems can do harm. We have pivoted in terms of focusing on the broader ecosystem of services in a community that can all contribute to improving health and well-being for people with complex health and social needs. Our strategic plan goals are by 2025 to confront inequities and system failures by strengthening the ecosystems of care for 500 communities in Camden, across New Jersey, and around the country. And we are working to expand the data and measure the outcomes of our programs.
How does being a Regional Health Hub help advance your work?
In 2020, Gov. Murphy created four regional health hubs: the Camden Coalition, Trenton Health Team, Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, and the Health Coalition of Passaic County. The goal of these hubs is to support the State’s health priorities by providing data infrastructure and analysis, supporting care management, and convening community stakeholders. An example has been during the COVID-19 pandemic as we support testing and vaccination efforts. Going forward we will focus on Medicaid redetermination. Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which kept people continuously enrolled with Medicaid during the pandemic. As that ends, people will lose coverage. Perhaps millions nationwide. An issue for us will be to reenroll those who have been disenrolled, ensuring people can access the health services and treatment they need.
Finally, we like to ask people a question beyond their professional lives. Where might we find you on a day off?
Well, I am married with two children, nine and seven years old. I enjoy being home with my family, and I enjoy working on projects. I am currently refurbishing the floors and the cabinets, and painting. My day-to-day work is ever-sprawling, and you wonder, where does it end? But my house projects come to a completion. That’s satisfying.