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 Acupuncturists New Brunswick, NJ

If you're new to holistic healing, acupuncture may seem intimidating. You might be wondering how needles pressed into your skin could possibly make you feel better. Wouldn't someone pushing a needle into your back be painful? As it turns out, acupuncture is far from painful and is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after treatments for chronic pain and for regulating issues relating to:

  • Digestion
  • Hormones
  • Breathing
  • Muscles
  • Nerves & Brain
  • Sex & Libido
  • Body Circulation
  • Organs & Heart

In fact, acupuncture has been studied and practiced for over 2,500 years and, more recently, has been researched and supported by many scientific studies. While acupuncture may not be a "miracle" treatment for every type of pain or condition, it has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of issues, from depression and allergies to morning sickness and cramps.

Covering the Basics of Acupuncture in New Brunswick, NJ

Acupuncture is a therapy in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that aims to balance the body's energy, called qi, which flows through pathways called meridians. This balance is crucial for overall wellness, as disruptions to qi can lead to health concerns. According to TCM, inserting small stainless-steel needles into specific points called acupoints along the meridians can help rebalance the flow of qi and restore overall health.

These acupoints are believed to release certain chemicals when stimulated, which can trigger an immune response and promote physiological homeostasis. Recent research suggests that this therapy may help alleviate symptoms of various health ailments.

In fact, the National Institute of Health conducted a survey on complementary health approaches, revealing that acupuncture usage in the United States has increased by 50 percent between 2002 and 2012. As of 2012, 6.4 percent of American adults have reported using acupuncture as a form of treatment.

Acupuncture Near Me New Brunswick, NJ

Is Acupuncture in New Brunswick, NJ Actually Legit?

One of the most common questions from new patients interested in acupuncture typically revolves around whether it really works or whether it's all "new age" malarky. We get it - for most folks, the thought of inserting stainless-steel needles into one's back, arms, or neck sounds loony. However, with the ever-increasing popularity of acupuncture in New Jersey and other locations, numerous studies centering on acupuncture's effectiveness have taken place.

Extensive research has been conducted on the effectiveness of acupuncture for various conditions. A February 2022 analysis published in the BMJ, which evaluated over 2,000 scientific reviews of acupuncture therapies, revealed that acupuncture's efficacy is strongest for:

  • Neck Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Post-Stroke Aphasia
  • Muscle Pain
  • Lactation Issues
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Vascular Dementia
  • More

Additionally, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acupuncture is most effective for pain relief in cases of chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, lower back pain, and tension headaches. Additionally, a review of 11 clinical trials found that acupuncture may also alleviate symptoms associated with cancer treatment, as noted by the NIH.

What Happens During an Acupuncture Session at New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness?

When meeting with your acupuncturist for the first time, they will discuss your condition with you before conducting a physical examination to identify areas of your body that might respond to acupuncture. The needles used in acupuncture are incredibly thin, sterile, and disposable, with your acupuncturist inserting them at different depths ranging from a fraction of an inch to several inches.

Acupuncture needles are less painful than medical needles used for vaccines or blood draws. This is because acupuncture needles are thinner and solid, not hollow. During the treatment, you may experience some muscle sensations like dull aches or tingling.

Your practitioner will ask you to report any deep heaviness or numbness, which are positive signs that the treatment is working. Depending on the condition you're treating and the supplemental treatments you're undergoing, like physical therapy, acupuncture needles will remain in place for several minutes or up to 30 minutes.

Once your first acupuncture treatment is finished, it's normal to feel extra relaxed and calm. For that reason, some patients like to arrange for a ride home after their first or second session. With that said, you shouldn't experience much pain at all, and it's quite possible for you to return to work after acupuncture.

How Many Treatments Until Acupuncture Works?

This is another common question that we get at New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness. The simple answer is, "It depends." While we understand that that's not a satisfying answer for some, it's important to understand that every patient is different. Everyone has different bodies and, by proxy, different bodily conditions and issues that need to be addressed.

During your initial consultation at our office, your licensed acupuncturist will go over your needs and goals as it relates to acupuncture therapy. Once your therapist has a good sense of the scope of your needs, they can give you a loose idea of how many sessions you'll need.

Generally speaking, most patients have appointments once a week. Others may require more or less frequent sessions. It's important to note that the full benefits of acupuncture may not be immediately evident after the first or even the second session. It's common for normal patients to undergo up to five treatments to realize the full benefits of acupuncture.

What Conditions Are Treated with Acupuncture in New Brunswick, NJ?

There's no question that acupuncture is more popular than ever as a non-invasive, non-addictive way to reclaim balance and well-being. But what types of conditions can this traditional therapy help alleviate in the modern world? Advances in acupuncture techniques and applications have resulted in some very promising benefits.

Relief from Chronic Pain

Did you know that regular acupuncture treatments can help reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis? In May 2017, a meta-analysis was published, which studied approximately 18,000 patients with chronic pain, such as low back, neck, and shoulder pain, knee OA, and headache or migraine. The analysis found that the benefits of acupuncture therapy in reducing pain lasted for more than 12 months.

That's wonderful news for athletes and other people who push their bodies daily to accomplish goals or bring home money for rent and bills. In fact, many medical experts consider acupuncture as a viable option for managing chronic pain in conjunction with traditional methods like physical therapy and chiropractic care. The idea behind this approach is that acupuncture may trigger the body's natural healing response to alleviate pain.

When a licensed acupuncturist in New Jersey inserts an acupuncture needle, it penetrates your fascia, a connective tissue that wraps around your organs and muscles. Like a slight tickle on your arm, your body realizes that something is happening and responds by delivering lymph fluid, blood, and other important nutrients to speed up healing in affected areas like your knees, back, neck, joints, and more.

 Fertility Acupuncture New Brunswick, NJ
 Best Acupuncture New Brunswick, NJ

Migraine Headache Relief

If you're like other people who suffer from migraines, you know that once one of them hits, it can be next to impossible to function properly throughout the day. Fortunately, acupuncture in New Brunswick, NJ may be a viable solution if you have to endure migraines often.

A study conducted in 2009 by the Center for Complementary Medicine at the University of Munich analyzed 11 studies involving 2,137 patients who received acupuncture treatment for chronic tension-type headaches. The researchers concluded that acupuncture could be an effective non-pharmacological solution for frequent headaches.

The study compared the effects of acupuncture sessions with sham acupuncture and no treatment at all. Both groups that received acupuncture treatment, whether needles were placed randomly or strategically, reported a reduction in headache symptoms, while the control group reported no change. The group that received real acupuncture treatment also reported a decrease in the number of headache days and intensity of pain in a follow-up survey.

Improved Sleep

For individuals who struggle with insomnia and other sleep disturbances, acupuncture is a promising therapy. Although sedatives are commonly prescribed for insomnia, long-term use can lead to negative side effects such as dependence and excessive drowsiness.

A study conducted on 72 participants and published in Sleep Medicine in 2017 found that individuals who received acupuncture three times a week for four weeks experienced significant improvements in sleep quality and anxiety compared to those who received sham acupuncture.

Similarly, a review of 30 randomized, controlled trials found that acupuncture was more effective in improving sleep quality and daytime functioning than sham acupuncture.

 Acupuncture Clinic New Brunswick, NJ
 Facial Acupuncture New Brunswick, NJ

Better Recovery from Surgery

While many patients choose acupuncture as a way to avoid surgery altogether, those who need surgery also use it for improved recovery. Because, at the end of the day, recovering from surgery is no easy feat. Patients may experience various symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, pain around the incision, restlessness, sleep troubles, constipation, and sore throat.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, healthcare providers may use acupuncture as a way to alleviate some of these symptoms and help with healing. A study published in Integrative Cancer Therapies in January 2017 involving 172 participants found that patients who received acupuncture after surgery reported significant improvements in sleep, anxiety, pain, fatigue, nausea, and drowsiness.

 Acupuncture Treatment New Brunswick, NJ

The Surprising Benefits of Supplementing Physical Therapy with Acupuncture

Did you know that supplementing physical therapy with acupuncture and vice versa can have profoundly beneficial effects for patients in New Jersey and across the country? If you're like most, chances are you didn't.

The truth is that acupuncture and physical therapy have both been proven effective in reducing pain and inflammation. While many people view them as separate methods, combining the two modalities can produce a synergistic effect that enhances pain relief and delivers long-lasting benefits to patients.

Physical therapists work with patients of all ages and abilities, from children to elderly adults, to help them overcome physical limitations and improve their quality of life. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists help treat a wide range of conditions, from neck pain and spinal cord injuries to back pain and arthritis.

To effectively reduce pain and treat tissue injury, a combination of acupuncture and physical therapy can be very helpful. Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation and release muscle tightness and trigger points, allowing the patient to better receive manual therapy or exercise-based physical therapy techniques. In doing so, acupuncture can actually create a window of time that allows your body to respond better to other treatments at New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness, such as physical therapy and chiropractic care.

There are many benefits of combining physical therapy with acupuncture in New Brunswick, NJ, including the following:

  • Increased Range of Motion
  • More Effective Long-Term Pain Relief
  • Enhanced Tissue Repair & Healing
  • Better Response to Physical Therapy Due to Pain Reduction
  • Less of a Need for Pain Medications
  • Boosted Mood & Energy
  • Better Quality of Life Overall

You may be wondering, "Are there any studies showing these benefits?" As it turns out, there are many. One such study, published on the NIH's website, was conducted on patients suffering from frozen shoulder.

 Acupuncture Therapy New Brunswick, NJ

Patients who received acupuncture experienced a significant reduction in pain, while those who underwent physical therapy saw an improvement in range of motion. However, the best outcome was observed in patients who received a combination of both treatments, with reduced pain, increased their range of motion, and improved quality of life. This study highlights the potential benefits of using acupuncture and physical therapy as complementary treatments for frozen shoulder.

It makes sense, then, that people from all walks of life are combining acupuncture with chiropractic treatments at New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness, including:

  • Professional Athletes
  • Football Players
  • Soccer Players
  • Baseball Players
  • Construction Workers
  • Landscapers
  • Accountants and People Working Office Jobs
  • Public Officials
  • Police Officers
  • More

Combining Acupuncture with Chiropractic Care for Pain Relief and Wellness


At New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness, our doctors, practitioners, occupational therapists, and physical therapist specialize in a range of therapies and treatments. Much like physical therapy and acupuncture, combining chiropractic care with acupuncture therapy gives patients a new way to reclaim their mobility, reduce chronic pain, and maintain a healthy quality of life.

Chiropractic care and acupuncture in New Brunswick, NJ are natural healing practices that don't rely on drugs to improve the body's health. They focus on correcting imbalances in the body's structural and supportive systems, promoting natural healing, and ultimately leading to better health. These practices have a proven track record of helping patients improve their quality of life and overcome physical difficulties.

 Medical Acupuncture New Brunswick, NJ

What are the Benefits of Using Acupuncture with Chiropractic Care?

Integrating chiropractic and acupuncture as a dual-modality treatment offers the most efficient solution for removing blockages from the body, promoting balance, and accelerating healing. Rather than using these treatments sequentially, a combined approach allows for maximum benefits at one time.

Chiropractic targets subluxations in the nervous system through manual adjustments, facilitating the central nervous system to promote healing, while acupuncture removes blockages that may hinder the body's internal balance. Together, these treatments work synergistically to optimize energy flow and restore harmony in the body.

 Cosmetic Acupuncture New Brunswick, NJ
 Cosmetic Acupuncture New Brunswick, NJ

What Conditions Can Be Treated with Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care?

When our physical well-being becomes imbalanced, and our innate healing mechanisms are compromised, illnesses can manifest. The integration of acupuncture and chiropractic practices can effectively address a wide range of health conditions that they individually target, such as:

  • Sports Injuries
  • Headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic Conditions Like Diabetes
  • More

Curious if combining chiropractic care or physical therapy with acupuncture is right for your body? The best way to find out is to make an appointment at our sports rehab clinic in New Jersey. Once our team of medical professionals has a chance to evaluate your conditions, we can explore the best options to provide the most relief in the shortest amount of time possible.

The Premier Choice for Professional Acupuncture in New Brunswick, NJ

New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness consists of a team of athletic trainers, chiropractors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other professionals. We're very proud and passionate about caring for our patients, many of whom are suffering from debilitating conditions like back and neck pain, plantar fasciitis, sports-related injuries, and more. If you're trying to get on the road to pain relief and recovery, acupuncture may be the non-surgical solution you need to reclaim your life. Contact our office today to learn whether this exciting treatment is right for you.


Latest News in New Brunswick, NJ

What’s Cooking in Rutgers' Dining Halls? Undergraduate Research

Photo Credit: Luca Mostello/Rutgers University By TAPinto New BrunswickPublishedMarch 10, 2024 at 12:42 PMLast UpdatedMarch 10, 2024 at 12:42 PMNEW BRUNSWICK – On the Rutgers College Avenue campus, even the cafeterias where so many burritos, sliders and chicken salad wraps are scarfed down each day are being used as teaching tools.That’s because since 2017 Rutgers-New Brunswick has been a part of the Menus of Ch...

Photo Credit: Luca Mostello/Rutgers University

By TAPinto New Brunswick

PublishedMarch 10, 2024 at 12:42 PM

Last UpdatedMarch 10, 2024 at 12:42 PM

NEW BRUNSWICK – On the Rutgers College Avenue campus, even the cafeterias where so many burritos, sliders and chicken salad wraps are scarfed down each day are being used as teaching tools.

That’s because since 2017 Rutgers-New Brunswick has been a part of the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MCURC) – an international network of colleges and universities that use campus dining halls as living laboratories.

“A dining facility, be it a dining hall, a diner, a cash operation … can be a living laboratory by looking at records, looking at patterns, looking at behaviors,” said Peggy Policastro, a registered dietitian and director of nutrition for Rutgers Dining Services.

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Policastro, who also is the director of nutrition and culinary literacy for the New Jersey Heathy Kids Initiative, is a co-chair of research and education for the Menus of Change collaborative. The goal behind the collective research effort, founded in 2014 and led by Stanford University and the Culinary Institute of America, is to advance healthy, delicious and sustainable food choices using evidence-based research, education and innovation.

She said being part of the collaborative involves more than having a dining facility.

“You have to have researchers, academics, who are part of this,” Policastro said. “That way they can carry forward the research that's done. This is the way for dining facilities to collaborate with their university research areas.”

Through the collaborative, Rutgers-New Brunswick provides a not-so-common opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct research.

Among the undergraduate researchers is Alyssa Guidetti, a senior studying nutritional sciences at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

“It's an amazing opportunity and something that really I feel sets me apart,” said Guidetti, 20, of Hazlet, who added she recently went through the graduate school interview process “and it definitely is a standout opportunity that I am able to experience and learn from.”

Allison Righter, co-director of the collaborative and director of health and sustainability programs for the strategic initiatives group at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., said Policastro “is a critical and cherished leader of the MCURC” who mentors Rutgers participants in the MCURC Student Fellows program, which allows undergraduate and graduate students to gain experience conducting research.

Righter said Policastro mentors Rutgers students “as they conduct research and leads unique operational research culminating in both peer-reviewed academic publications and operational toolkits.”

“I have research assistants who actually are collecting the data,” Policastro said. “They're actually writing the institutional review board documents. They are involved in analyzing the data and involved in writing the manuscript. They also recruit students to be involved in the studies.”

The project Guidetti worked on began as a study at Stanford University, where researchers wanted to investigate the effect on athletic performance of eating a plant-based diet.

Guidetti was asked to lead the study at Rutgers-New Brunswick because of her interest in nutrition, sports and athletics. She called the research process “very eye-opening.”

“We're working with recreational athletes, not people who are athletes at Rutgers University, just people who go to the gym on their own time,” said Guidetti, who grew up as a competitive cheerleader and enjoys running for exercise.

“And we're having them eat plant-based food for four weeks and an omnivore diet for four weeks and seeing the results on their athletic performance. And we're working with resistance trainers and runners.”

Another undergraduate researcher, Rachel Ho, 21, worked on assessing college students’ knowledge of plant-based protein sources.

Student researchers set up display boards at the four Rutgers dining halls with different categories of “good source” and “not a good source” of protein. The researchers then presented six different plant-based food items – oats, a potato, almond, milk, fruit loops, black beans and lentils – to student participants who were asked to indicate whether each food item was a good source of protein or not.

Ho said according to the results, 43.6% of students had incorrectly identified almond milk as being a good source of protein.

“And we concluded that when they incorrectly assumed that almond milk was a good source of plant-based protein, it could mean that when they're making the switch to plant-based milks, which is a trend now with switching from dairy milks to plant-based milks, they could be missing out on important nutrients that regular dairy milk could have,” said Ho, who will be attending Rutgers University-Camden to pursue a master of arts in teaching degree with a concentration in family and consumer sciences.

Ho presented research findings during the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo held in Denver in October and at the annual meeting of the New Jersey Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Freehold in April.

“I think learning how to do research and learning research language is probably one of the best things that happened to me in terms of advancing professionally and developing professional language,” the Edison resident said. “And it helped a lot with my general professional development.”

Study: Best Ways to Recruit South Asian Women for Breast Cancer

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.Health & FitnessRutgers Health experts, conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic, found that radio is an effective recruitment toolCommunity Contributor|Updated Mon, Mar 11, 2024 at 9:12 am ETSouth Asian American women increasingly are diagnosed with breast cancer at younger ages and with more advanced d...

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.

Health & Fitness

Rutgers Health experts, conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic, found that radio is an effective recruitment tool

Community Contributor

|Updated Mon, Mar 11, 2024 at 9:12 am ET

South Asian American women increasingly are diagnosed with breast cancer at younger ages and with more advanced disease compared with other groups, a fact made even more alarming because they are underrepresented in studies, said Jaya Satagopan, an associate dean for faculty affairs and professor at the School of Public Health and member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

A study she led tackles a crucial factor in addressing the issue: the recruitment of South Asian women in research.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic found that broadcast media, such as radio, is an effective recruitment tool.

“Collaborating with a community-based radio station to disseminate study information allowed listeners to hear directly from the researchers, thus helped strengthen community partnerships and credibility at a time when traditional in-person community interactions were suspended due to the pandemic,” said Satagopan.

The research, known as the South Asian Breast Cancer (SABCa) study, was initially focused on understanding breast cancer-related health attitudes in this rapidly growing, yet understudied population. But Satagopan shifted her research focus during the pandemic to recruitment while working with local community organizations, potentially reshaping future community-based health research.

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“To our knowledge, this is the first study on recruiting South Asian American women through community partnerships during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Satagopan added.

Recruitment efforts included outreach to multiple community organizations in 2021 to disseminate the SABCa study information. Researchers noted that as these organizations progressively engaged with pandemic-related needs, they had to redirect their strategy. This included community radio, Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Community Outreach and Engagement Program, and Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s community health programs.

Satagopan said this experience demonstrates that adopting alternative strategies, particularly promoting the SABCa study through broadcast media like radio, was successful in recruiting their target demographic.

According to researchers, radio became a trusted source of information and connection for the public during the pandemic, especially among South Asian communities in New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania. A popular community radio station among this community, known for its diverse South Asian content, EBC Radio, collaborated with the study researchers to promote the SABCa study – which was advertised using culturally resonant methods, including music and greetings in multiple South Asian languages.

Additionally, Satagopan was invited on EBC Radio’s talk show where she discussed the study and encouraged listeners to share the information in their community networks.

“Use of culturally tailored outreach approaches and trust in community radio and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension and their staff as credible cultural brokers in the community were among the facilitators for recruitment and retention of participants,” said Satagopan.

She noted family dynamics, including the support of men as champions of women’s health, also encouraged participation. Findings also suggest that participants’ comfort levels with technology and assistance with digital tools, such as Zoom and DocuSign, were crucial in retaining them in the study.

“Our study can inform strategies for recruiting understudied populations to research studies even beyond the pandemic,” Satagopan said.

Future research should recognize limitations in partnership opportunities during crises and utilize multilingual study protocols, said Satagopan, adding it should identify and engage diverse cultural gatekeepers and pursue targeted social media advertising to engage potential participants.

Coauthors of the study include faculty from Rutgers Cancer Institute and Rutgers Cooperative Extension Department of Family and Community Health Sciences.

Need a Ride in New Brunswick, N.J.? There’s an App for That

Micro, on-demand transit is becoming as common as the smartphones enabling it — and travelers in one central New Jersey city stand to benefit.Starting Tuesday, transit riders in New Brunswick, N.J., will be able to download RIDE On Demand service, from Middlesex County Area Transit (MCAT) and powered by Via transit technology.The RIDE On Demand service is operated by...

Micro, on-demand transit is becoming as common as the smartphones enabling it — and travelers in one central New Jersey city stand to benefit.

Starting Tuesday, transit riders in New Brunswick, N.J., will be able to download RIDE On Demand service, from Middlesex County Area Transit (MCAT) and powered by Via transit technology.

The RIDE On Demand service is operated by the Middlesex County Department of Transportation as an additional service to the MCAT. It works much like ride-hailing or a taxi, where a passenger can be picked up from anyplace in New Brunswick and dropped off at any location in the city. Rides are shared, which means there could be another passenger in the vehicle as well.

“This means residents now have another affordable and convenient option for getting around New Brunswick, alongside MCAT’s fixed routes and reservation-based services,” said Khalid Anjum, department head for the Middlesex County Department of Transportation, in an email. The program will be funded “using money set aside specifically for new and innovative transportation solutions,” he added.

Dozens of communities across the country, from major cities like Los Angeles to small hamlets like Winchester, Va., have introduced on-demand shared-transit options to areas where there was no fixed-route bus service. In other areas requiring a smaller transportation footprint, the on-demand van-like vehicles have replaced scheduled buses.

On-demand transit options, which many riders access with a phone app, have become increasingly common, adding to the variety of transit offerings as agencies aim to keep pace with changing and more fluid transportation needs.

“The ubiquity of the smartphone has certainly helped on-demand transit to flourish, since many riders find the app-based booking model to be an intuitive and convenient way to call a ride,” said Mike Vaccarino, head of North American partnerships at Via, a maker of on-demand transit technology.

“That said, we have many riders who are not smartphone owners, or are just not comfortable using apps,” he added. “Via’s goal is to expand access to transit for all citizens, which is why we also offer alternative booking options for riders, like calling a dedicated phone number, or in some cases, booking with an in-person representative at transit hubs.”

Last year alone, Via launched more than 120 on-demand transit services worldwide.

“So it’s no surprise that in 2024, we’re seeing booming interest from community leaders and their residents, who believe on-demand service would be a valuable asset of their local transportation ecosystem,” said Vaccarino. “The inclusion of ‘on-demand mobility services’ on the federal infrastructure bill also validates that we’ve entered a phase where microtransit is no longer the novelty, but a norm.”

RIDE On Demand will operate Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Rides will be free for the first two weeks before transitioning to the regular rate of $3 per ride.

“Middlesex County is committed to improving our transportation network and increasing mobility options for our residents to ensure our community is more connected and sustainable,” Anjum said. “Our goal is to reduce traffic congestion and protect the environment by embracing new technologies like electric and autonomous vehicles.”

Judge halts striking nurses’ rowdy pickets at New Brunswick hospital

1,700 nurses at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital have been striking almost seven weeksA state judge has temporarily ordered striking nurses at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick to stop disruptive picketing, calling their round-the-clock protests since their walkout started Aug. 4 “unlawful acts.”Superior Court Judge Thomas Daniel McCloskey a...

1,700 nurses at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital have been striking almost seven weeks

A state judge has temporarily ordered striking nurses at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick to stop disruptive picketing, calling their round-the-clock protests since their walkout started Aug. 4 “unlawful acts.”

Superior Court Judge Thomas Daniel McCloskey acted at the hospital’s request, agreeing after an emergency hearing Monday afternoon that the picketers block entrances and parking garages, intimidate other employees, and obstruct buses carrying replacement nurses to work.

“I find that the defendants’ conduct interferes with essential emergency and scheduled medical services normally provided by the hospital and that the welfare of the community, patients of the plaintiff’s hospital, patient families attempting to gain ingress and egress from the hospital to be and visit with patients under the care of the hospital, treating physicians and medical and administrative support staff providing such patient care, and of the general public as a whole is being adversely affected by such conduct,” McCloskey wrote.

A hearing is set for Friday morning, when the judge will decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction.

Nurse Judy Danella is president of United Steelworkers Local 4-200, the union representing the 1,700 striking nurses. She denied the hospital’s claims that picketers have blocked anyone’s access or threatened anyone.

“We have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, but they’re saying we were blocking things. Nobody’s been hurt. Every time there was an ambulance, they did stop to let the ambulance through. It’s very fabricated,” Danella said. “This is just an anti-union, union-busting tactic on their end.”

The two sides last met Thursday, when a federal mediator called them to the bargaining table to break a contract impasse over the union’s demands for higher pay, a freeze on insurance premiums, and mandatory minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, as well as a dispute over sick callouts.

The day ended without an agreement, when hospital officials urged union officials to either agree to binding arbitration or accept their Aug. 2 offer. That offer included increased on-call pay and a $20 hourly bonus for nurses working shifts with high nurse-to-patient ratios standards.

Tuesday, the union held a vote and the nurses voted by an 89% majority to reject that offer and continue striking, Danella said.

No further negotiations are scheduled as of now, she added.

“We want safe staffing levels,” she said. “I don’t know what the future holds. I hope it holds to go back to the table and have serious negotiations.”

Hospital officials are “deeply disappointed” by the nurses’ vote to continue striking, spokeswoman Wendy Gottsegen said.

“RWJUH did everything it could to avoid a strike and urges the union to work with us to reach a resolution. This strike cannot go on forever,” Gottsegen said.

McCloskey’s temporary restraining order is “not about noise or restricting a peaceful demonstration, which we fully support,” she added.

“The judge issued the order in response to the increasingly aggressive activities that began last week,” Gottsegen said. “This order is needed to prevent injury or worse from the increasingly dangerous activities of the picketers.”

Picketers have chanted, blared music, and used air horns, drums, and bullhorns, both to solicit support from passing motorists and to generate attention as they march around the 620-bed hospital. The strike — the nurses’ first since 2006 — entered its 47th day Tuesday.

They were still there — but far quieter and fewer in number on Tuesday.

McCloskey’s order specifically forbade them from “parading or patrolling, gathering, loitering or picketing about the entrances or premises of the hospital or public streets or sidewalks approaching thereto or in the vicinity thereof, except in such numbers and in such manner and at such places as this court may prescribe.” But his order did not specify what numbers or manner they could gather, so Danella said the nurses were awaiting their attorneys’ advice.

“We have to pretty much stop the music, stop any air horns, and I think they want to start limiting the amount of nurses that can picket at one time,” Danella said. “But we otherwise will continue to do what we were doing.”



$55 million Blanquita B. Valenti Community School ready to welcome New Brunswick students

NEW BRUNSWICK – Blanquita B. Valenti Community School, like its namesake, embodies what’s best about the city it calls home."She was about community, about purpose, about advocacy," said Superintendent of Schools Aubrey A. Johnson. "And this was a real community effort."Some 800 city students will have an extra-special first day of classes Thursday when they walk into the brand-new $55 million school on Jersey Avenue for the first time.Two years in the making, the three-stor...

NEW BRUNSWICK – Blanquita B. Valenti Community School, like its namesake, embodies what’s best about the city it calls home.

"She was about community, about purpose, about advocacy," said Superintendent of Schools Aubrey A. Johnson. "And this was a real community effort."

Some 800 city students will have an extra-special first day of classes Thursday when they walk into the brand-new $55 million school on Jersey Avenue for the first time.

Two years in the making, the three-story, 127,400-square-foot facility replaces Lincoln Annex School, formerly St. Peter's High School and Elementary School, which was demolished for construction of the state's first free-standing cancer hospital. It can house up to 1,000 K-8 students.

The excitement is palpable, said Valenti School Principal Ellen Treadway and the superintendent. A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for the afternoon of Sept. 6.

"It's very exciting," Treadway said. "It's a beautiful building, absolutely gorgeous. It already has a ton of vitality to it. You can feel it. When you walk in you get that energy of teachers who are excited to set up their classrooms, seeing their new furniture, seeing all the materials that they have, the technology that they have. Everything is vibrant here and you can feel that with all the teachers and staff members who have come in."

Johnson called it a "true community school." He praised Treadway, who has been with the district for about a decade, with being able to connect the Valenti school community and "bring a lot of vision to what the mindset of what Blanquita Valenti was about."

"Everyone's worked together to create the opportunity for us," Johnson said. "From the mayor (Jim Cahill) and his vision to DEVCO (New Brunswick Development Corporation) and their vision to the Board of Education and their vision. And the hospital. The vision was set forward and then everybody pulled together to make it work. I want to say now we are at the micro stage where our administrators and our teachers and our principals and everyone is now filling in those buildings. Before there were just walls. But I feel now there are promises that have come inside. And that makes a school. I'm extremely excited for what's going to happen."

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The school broke ground in spring 2021, just a few months after Blanquita B. Valenti died at age 87. A strong role model for her community, Valenti was a longtime educator, public servant and held numerous elected local and county positions while raising her family in the city. She taught Spanish at John F. Kennedy High School in Woodbridge for 32 years before her retirement.

Valenti's political and community achievements included serving as Middlesex County freeholder from 2004-2019, New Brunswick councilmember from 1990-2010 and as a member of the New Brunswick Board of Education and New Brunswick Planning Board. She also served on the board of directors for St. Peter's University Hospital and Middlesex College, was a founding and charter member of the Puerto Rican Action Board and a founding member of ASPIRA, Inc. of New Jersey.

She has a huge legacy, Johnson said, one that will be included in the school's day-to-day activities.

"In each instance, she was the first person of Latin American descent to serve in these positions," he said. "We actually have a lot of artifacts that we have collected, and we have a lot of awareness of who she was. We have been talking to the family, and we have a lot of history and legacy, and we definitely plan to incorporate that into our curriculum as well."

Valenti School is walkable for the community, Treadway noted.

"That is something that we're very excited about, being able to have our students and their families walk to school and come to functions," she said. "Even though the other school wasn't far from where we were at, we had to transport them by bus. So now they're able to walk in and it just provides a little bit more opportunities for different events and functions for families to come to."

The school features a health and wellness theme, Treadway said, which is incorporated into the curriculum.

"Health and wellness is something that we will try to put into our daily routines, and we will bring in community members and partners to kind of focus on this with families and students," she said.

According to Sarah Clarke, executive vice president of DEVCO, which developed the project, there was a group of community members, parents and staff that was integral in the early planning stages that helped identify the site and some of the design features.

"I think it really does meet with all of those factors that you would call a community school," Clarke said. "Ultimately, in its operation, it'll be a community school, but certainly as part of the development phase, the design and construction, it's also should be considered a community effort."

Among the amenities are a large outdoor playground, gymnasium, cafeteria and a multi-purpose room with a stage. There is a media center, technology lab, makerspace; biology, chemistry and hydroponics lab, Johnson said.

"I know the students are excited with the playground," Treadway said. "All of our students in grades K through 8 will have that opportunity to go to the outdoor playground for recess. The media center is beautiful. It feels like a mix of a Barnes & Noble with a makerspace area and STEAM area where we will have coding and robotics to offer."

Clarke said the building has a modern, high-tech vibe, designed to give the district the most amount of flexibility, and can host community events the way it’s designed.

"You can give community access in those spaces without having to get access to the rest of the school," she said. "So after hours or for a weekend use by different community groups. I think that is a great feature."

The school was developed in collaboration with the city, Middlesex County, RWJBarnabas Health, Rutgers Cancer Center Institute of New Jersey and DEVCO, with funding provided by RWJBarnabas as part of its cancer center project.

email: cmakin@gannettnj.com


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