About Us

In 2015, the Ocean County YMCA and the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation brought together a group of Toms River non-profits to discuss the New Jersey Health Initiative’s (NJHI) Building a Culture of Health in NJ – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 grant opportunity. The collective group was committed to creating a culture of health in Toms River, and there was 100% buy-in for the formal establishment of the Toms River Family Health and Support Coalition (TRFHSC). Today, the TRFHSC is made up of over 50 partners spanning the public, private and nonprofit sectors who are working together to improve the health of all Toms River residents. The mission of the TRFHSC is to mobilize a network that engages every resident with knowledge of and access to healthy resources. The TRFHSC was fortunate to be selected as a recipient of the NJHI Building a Culture of Health in NJ grant. The grant funding will enable the coalition to participate in a four-year initiative to address the multiple factors that influence health: health behaviors, social and economic factors, clinical care, and the physical environment.
Over the last year, the TRFHSC has been involved in various planning efforts to build a Blueprint for Action. The planning has included:

  • A series of listening sessions at various locations around Toms River, including diverse audiences;
  • Written surveys and phone surveys; and
  • Research on the health and wellness challenges within the Toms River area utilizing NJ State Health Assessment Data, the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, and local county information.

Based on this research, priorities in the following critical areas were identified:

  • Nutritious Food Connections
  • Senior Isolation
  • Substance Abuse/Youth Emotional Wellness
This Blueprint for Action is the collective work of the TRFHSC and the guide for the next several years as we work to make Toms River the healthiest community in New Jersey.
The leadership team is:
  • Heather Barberi – Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation
  • Jeremy Grunin – Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation
  • Peter Rosario – Ocean County YMCA

Co-Chairs, Nutritious Food Connections
  • Gemma Brennan – Georgian Court University; Retired, Toms River School District Principal
  • Wendi Cassidy – Fulfill NJ

Co-Chairs, Senior Isolation
  • Keri Britske – Community Medical Center, RWJ Barnabas Health
  • Nancy Kaari – American Red Cross of Jersey Coast
  • Dr. Teri Kubiel – Community Medical Center, RWJ Barnabas Health

Co-Chairs, Substance Abuse/Youth Emotional Wellness
  • Scott Corbett – Ocean Academy OHMS
  • Jillian Messina – Toms River Police Department
  • Adeola Sonaike, The Family Resource Network

Communications Director
  • Kelly Fliller – Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation

Research Partners
  • Dr. JoAnn Cummings – Georgian Court University
  • Dr. Megan Sherman – Georgian Court University
  • Efthimia Stefanou, BSN, RN – Rutgers University
  • Dr. Michael Wortley – Georgian Court University