New Jersey Health Statistics from 1877 to 2000: About the Authors

New Jersey Health Statistics from 1877 to 2000:
An Historical Electronic Compendium of Published Reports

Compiled and Annotated by Mark C. Fulcomer, Ph.D. and Marcia M. Sass, Sc.D.

Table of Contents

About the Authors

Mark C. Fulcomer. Born in Elwood, Indiana, Mark C. Fulcomer attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio from 1961 to 1963 before transferring to the Ohio State University in Columbus. At Ohio State he completed three degrees: a B.A. in Social Sciences (1965); a M.A. in Counseling Psychology (1967); and a Ph.D. in Statistical Psychology (1970).

His work and research with health statistics and computerized health records systems began in 1966 at Norristown (Pennsylvania) State Hospital (NSH) and continued later at the Philadelphia Geriatric Center (PGC). Under the leadership of Dr. M. Powell Lawton, who also held an appointment at both agencies, his affiliations with staff at NSH and PGC continued into the 1990s. After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Fulcomer served as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York University and started his early work on the archiving of statistical reports. By 1975 he had returned to Philadelphia, assuming roles at both NSH and PGC as well as continuing to teach applied statistics courses at Bryn Mawr College and Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences (now Philadelphia University). In that time period he and Dr. S. David Kriska developed MADMAN and MADSTAT, two computer packages for processing statistical data, and founded Restat Systems, Inc.

In 1983, he began a long association with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS), initially to participate in the development of the newly-established Birth Defects Registry and later as a co-principal investigator (with Drs. George J. Halpin and Frank J. Bove) of a multi-year cooperative agreement with CDC ("Population-Based Surveillance and Etiological Research of Adverse Reproductive Outcomes") under the direction of Dr. Leah Z. Ziskin. By 1991, Dr. Fulcomer had been selected to become the Director of the Center for Health Statistics (CHS) within NJDHSS, a position he held until his retirement from state service in 1999. Under his direction, Rose Marie Martin reorganized the annual series of New Jersey health statistics reports, while other individuals in CHS as well as throughout NJDHSS began work on the development and successful implementation of an electronic birth certificate (EBC) system. In addition to his own efforts to devise methods to enhance data collection systems, his introduction and oversight of statistical quality control procedures led to improvements in New Jersey's information on health outcomes. Along with Dr. Marcia M. Sass and other colleagues in NJDHSS, he also participated in efforts to disseminate health statistics to the public. In 1999 the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems recognized his efforts with its Lifetime Membership Award ("for noteworthy contributions to vital records and health statistics").

After his 1999 retirement from NJDHSS, Dr. Fulcomer was able to pursue two new part-time assignments, the first as a faculty member in the Public Health Program at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Pomona and the other as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick. At Stockton, and later at the Stratford Campus of the UMDNJ-School of Public Health since 2001, he was able to resume his interests in teaching applied statistics and related courses such as epidemiology. His return to the classroom was a major impetus in the efforts to complete the historical electronic compendium of New Jersey health statistics, while his work with Dr. Robert C. Like and other colleagues in New Brunswick allowed him an opportunity to continue his research interests on health disparities and in improving the collection and culturally sensitive utilization of race/ethnicity information.

Marcia M. Sass. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Marcia M. Sass received her BS/RN degree in 1970 from the University of Maryland, School of Nursing. In 1974, she received a MSN degree from the University of Pennsylvania and subsequently served on the Maternal and Child Health faculty until 1980. From 1979 to 1980, Dr. Sass participated in a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse-Faculty Fellowship in Primary Care at the University of Maryland and then began her doctoral studies at the Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health. Later, in 1985 and while working at the Robert W. Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, she completed her Sc.D. degree in Health Services Research and Evaluation.

Beyond her three degrees, Dr. Sass now has more than twenty years of experience in program evaluation and community health assessment at the national, state, and local levels. Like Dr. Fulcomer, she has had long-standing interest in health statistics and health data systems. From 1986 to 1988 she served as a consultant to NJDHSS in the development of New Jersey's HealthStart Program. With her extensive educational training and experience, particularly in maternal and child health services, she served as a consultant to several organizations, most notably the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation and the National Governors Association, before returning to NJDHSS.

While employed at NJDHSS, Dr. Sass held positions as an administrator and manager as well as an evaluator of health service projects. Common to all of these positions, she had major responsibilities for the dissemination of information on health data and outcomes. From 1991 to 1994 she was responsible for implementing, providing technical assistance, building capacity, managing, and developing evaluative mechanisms for the State's six Local Advisory Boards (Regional Health Planning Agencies covering all 21 counties) and Competitive Initiatives Program grants. Moving to the Division of HIV/AIDS Services, she then served as NJDHSS' representative to national groups developing evaluation guidelines for CDC-funded HIV prevention programs. From 1994 to 2005, Dr. Sass was Chair of the Evaluation Committee of the New Jersey HIV Community Planning Group and in December 2005 received the First Annual Ralph Mitchell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Field of HIV Prevention.

Moving to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in 2002, Dr. Sass is presently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Systems and Policy in the UMDNJ-School of Public Health as well as the Senior Evaluator for the New Jersey Center for Public Health Preparedness at UMDNJ. In addition to teaching topics related to health services research and evaluation that included a 2006 course at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, she collaborates on community health assessment projects with Dr. Bernadette West and other UMDNJ faculty and students. Currently, she also serves as the UMDNJ consultant to the NJDHSS-Diabetes Prevention and Control Program on the implementation of the State Diabetes Public Health System Assessment Process and is providing guidance on performance management, surveillance, and program evaluation.

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