February 24, 2020


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Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Department of Health and Community Wellness Director Dr. Mark Wade today announced plans for the launch of three initiatives that will improve the quality of life of Newarkers in the coming weeks.

Baraka House Calls will provide an old-school solution to a modern-day problem, while the OrCam MyEye2 seeks to support residents who are blind or have visual impairments.  American Sign Language classes for City of Newark employees, starting with the Department of Health and Mary Eliza Mahoney Health Center staff, will improve communication and quality of care for the deaf and hard of hearing.

“Improving the quality of life of all Newarkers as well as being a more inclusive community is a priority for this administration in general and our Department of Health and Community Wellness in particular,” said Mayor Baraka. “The tools our team and our partners are implementing will empower people’s lives and help them become more independent. Public health affects all residents, so we in addressing this issue, are creating a more equitable and a safer Newark.”

“Good health at any age is the basis of a good life for all ages and therefore a strong community. We recognize that many residents are not able to easily make their way to a medical facility. Baraka House Calls enables us to take the doctor visit to the resident through our medical mobile health van,” said Dr. Wade. “Services provided will include sick visits, well visits, and management of chronic illnesses to the elderly and less mobile.  This mobile medical initiative will also deliver women’s health to women receiving services at the Shani Baraka Women’s Resource Center.  We will also be providing dental and health screenings monthly at our senior residential and recreation sites.”

The initiatives expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks include:

Baraka House Calls: Baraka House Calls, a medical mobile unit that brings healthcare services to various locations including the Shani Baraka Women’s Resource Center, Senior Residential Housing and Recreation Centers.  Baraka House Calls will launch on Monday, March 2, 2020.

Women’s health services will be provided at the Shani Baraka Women’s Resource Center using the Mobile Medical Van (MMV) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 2pm. On Mondays and Fridays, the medical mobile unit will visit senior housing facilities and recreation centers from 10am to 2pm. On-site dental screenings, comprehensive health services, wellness exams and sick visits will be provided at those locations. Follow-up visits will be scheduled at the Mary Eliza Mahoney Health Center for clients who would like to receive services at our flagship location.

OrCam MyEye2: The city has purchased 10 of the most advanced wearable assistive technology for its blind and visually impaired population. This technology was developed by the same company that produced the automative driver assist protection technology that is available through most car companies in the U.S.  The technology enhances individuals’ independence by allowing them access to visual information, conveyed by audio on a tiny camera, which can be attached to any pair of eyeglasses. Using artificial intelligence, the technology reads text and barcodes, has facial recognition, identifies products, detects money notes/colors, and can tell the user the time and date with a simple press of a button. Newark has approximately 3,000 residents who are visually impaired or blind.  OrCam MyEye2 supports 18 languages worldwide, including English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.  Newark is the first city in the country to make this technology available to its residents.

The devices will be available at the following locations: Mary Eliza Mahoney Health Center, City Hall, Newark Public Library, and a major supermarket in the city. The date of availability will be announced soon.

Residents can also learn more by watching a Newark News segment on the subject at:

For more information, please visit:

American Sign Language Classes for City of Newark Employees: In March 2020, beginning with the Department of Health and Community Wellness and its co-affiliate, the Mary Eliza Mahoney Health Center, staff will be offered an opportunity to take a series of American Sign Language classes with a certified instructor.  Sign language classes will improve quality of care by enabling staff to better communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

For more information, please visit:

Residents with questions about any of these services should call the Department of Health and Community Wellness at (973) 733–5310.