June 19, 2006
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
UMDNJ's DAYAM Program to Host HIV Awareness Play at Newark Museum
NEWARK — A play depicting inner-city activities and peer outreach efforts to educate and prevent HIV transmission will be held at the Newark Museum on June 22 as part of an ongoing effort to abate the deadly disease by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
“What Would Jesus Do?” a play written by television actress Yvette Heliger, whose many credits include The Bill Cosby Show, is about a woman who discovers she has been exposed to HIV and its impact on her, her family and community.
The play will be held at 7 p.m. at the Billy Johnson Auditorium at the Newark Museum on 49 Washington St., Newark. The public may attend free of charge, and medical experts will be at the museum following the play to answer questions and provide medical guidance.
UMDNJ’s Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine (DAYAM) is sponsoring the event through its Peer Outreach Workers Education Risk-takers (POWER) group, according to Bernita Waller, program coordinator at UMDNJ in Newark. Starting June 26, testing and counseling will be offered by UMDNJ physicians and other health personnel who will travel in a medically-equipped university mobile unit to various Newark locations as part of its annual outreach efforts on National HIV Testing Day.
Faith based institutions and churches in Newark support HIV testing as one prevention strategy against HIV transmission in urban areas like Newark and other parts of New Jersey, which are among cities and states with high rates of HIV infection and AIDS cases.
UMDNJ is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state’s three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.