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The Urban Healthcare Initiative Program, an outreach program affiliated with Saint Michael’s Medical Center, has received top honors and won several awards at this year’s prestigious Telly Awards for its groundbreaking, innovative video series aimed at addressing the dire need for a better quality of life in urban communities.

The Urban Healthcare Initiative’s (UHIP’s) “Knowledge Is Power” video series took home two Bronze Telly Awards in the Education and Social Issues categories.

The Tellys are the premier award honoring outstanding content for TV and Cable, Digital and Streaming, and Non-Broadcast distribution.

The series features respected physician influencers, like UHIP founder, Dr. Alexander Salerno, a second-generation physician of Salerno Medical Associates, a primary care, multi-specialty practice serving Northern New Jersey’s urban communities since the early 1950’s.

“Awards like this are so important to raise our visibility and help get more support,” said Dr. Salerno, who is affiliated with Saint Michael’s Medical Center. “My ultimate goal is to expand UHIP and its message to urban areas across the country”

The videos take on some of the most pressing health issues in the African American and Latino communities. Creative video topics range from “Man Up,” which addresses the need for prostate screenings, to “Cut Your Hair, Cut Your Health Risks,” an event held at a local barbershop.

In addition to physicians, UHIP teams up with notable celebrities like Hip Hop legend the Rev. Run of RUN-DMC, Indy race-car driver Charlie Kimball, and legendary actor and performer Ben Vereen to help spread the message of health.

Founded by Dr. Salerno in 2010, UHIP is a non-profit, community-based program that uses a 360-degree, fresh approach to health literacy. UHIP is financially supported by Saint Michael’s.

“We are honored to be recognized and to have won,” said Dr. Salerno, who launched the program after becoming frustrated with healthcare outcomes in his urban community.,

“There is a growing disparity when it comes to healthcare metrics and healthcare outcomes in our urban communities,” Dr. Salerno said. “Because of that, there is failing healthcare and failing quality of life. I want to change that. If we can educate the public on the importance of preventive healthcare, we will not only save lives but also reduce the burden on our healthcare system.”

Based on the belief that knowledge really is power, UHIP reaches out to the community through community mainstays like churches, community centers and barber shops.

“We have found that reaching out to the community in places where they are most comfortable, they’re more receptive to the information,” said UHIP Community Outreach Liaison Kelvin Roberson. “Our goal is to combat long-standing cultural attitudes toward healthcare, change the way people think, and motivate them to take control of their health.”