Events will take place for National Health Center Week until August 18 in Burlington County and across the state.

The health care community and patients across New Jersey and the country are celebrating National Health Center Week as a way to recognize the care and access to initiatives community health centers provide.

Across the state, 24 community health centers in more than 100 locations care for roughly 530,000 patients through 1.8 million visits each year, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.

About 30 percent of the patients who utilize these centers are uninsured with 55 percent of patients on Medicaid. Overall, the centers receive more than $30 million from the state Department of Health to help those in need.

“Community Health Centers are an essential health care provider in the community, providing primary prevention, medical care, dental care and behavioral health care such as mental health treatment and substance abuse counseling,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal in a statement.

In Burlington County, the nonprofit and federally qualified Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers has locations in the Burlington City Center on High Street and the Buttonwood Medical and Dental Center on Pemberton Browns Mills Road in Pemberton Township, as well as a mobile unit based out of the Pemberton site. SJFMC has a variety of locations across the seven southern New Jersey counties it serves.

On Saturday, the group will host a celebration for the week at the Burlington City location in order to “support our community with back to school preventive health initiatives and education,” a statement from SJFMC read.

“We will provide free food, dental, vision, and eye screenings, immunizations and educational materials for children and adults,” the statement read. “We will also give out free backpacks and supplies to get children ready for the school year.”

Elnahal and his staff members will be visiting a variety of locations across the state to participate in events and encourage parents to get their children preventative care, including vaccinations. The New Jersey Commissioner of Education will be joining them on Tuesday in Newark for a health fair.

“Without immunizations, most children won’t be allowed to attend school or to participate in sports activities,” said Lamont Repollet, New Jersey commissioner of education. “Immunizations improve a child’s overall health and, as a result, boost their attendance in school, aid their ability to learn and ultimately, help academic performance.”

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New Jersey Celebrates National Health Center Week