By John Ostapkovich

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey’s health commissioner was at Cooper Hospital in Camden this morning to announce the “Partnership for a Healthy New Jersey,” a new angle in the fight against chronic diseases.

It’s not as if doctors haven’t been battling cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, mental disorders, and pulmonary conditions, but what sometimes happens is what health commissioner Mary O’Dowd (at lectern in photo) calls “siloing” — kind of looking at each tree instead of the forest.

She provides another example:

“Instead of thinking about asthma and having those four different initiatives going on, we’re thinking about all of these together and reorganizing ourselves around the approach to addressing this as a whole, rather than individual, disease-specific groups.”

And O’Dowd praised Cooper Hospital for already doing something like that.

She says the stakes are high, not only in terms of people’s lives but in the billions of dollars in medical expenses that may be avoidable with a coordinated effort.

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