The Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health was developed to address infectious diseases in the inner city. This non-profit center, which is initially focusing on HIV, recognizes that inner city patients face many unique challenges in their daily lives. These challenges interfere with treatment of infectious diseases and foster an environment where infectious diseases are easily spread. Infectious diseases are different from other diseases in that successful treatment reduces their spread.
When you treat a person with diabetes, you treat that one person. When you treat a person with HIV, you greatly reduce the chances of transmission and treat the whole community. In the past 10 years there have been incredible advances in HIV treatment. The drugs are easier to take and extremely effective. Inner city HIV+ patients in New Jersey have excellent access to physicians and clinics. The state provides free medications to those without insurance. Yet the number of new HIV cases per year in New Jersey has stayed the same for the past decade.
We at the Smith Center believe that by using novel approaches we can rid New Jersey of HIV. We have designed programs to incentivize patients to continue their medications. We have created a personal atmosphere, where each patient is known by her or his first name. Since successful treatment of HIV infection requires strong collaboration between healthcare providers and patients, we work with our patients to ensure that we are providing the best service possible.
Our first site is open in East Orange, we have added an additional site in Newark and future locations will open soon. We utilize an electronic medical record system, customized for HIV inner city care. This system allows our patients to go to any of our sites and be seen seamlessly.