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Quest Supports Expansion of Community Center and Provides No-Cost Wellness Testing to Newark Faith Community

Quest Supports Expansion of Community Center and Provides No-Cost Wellness Testing to Newark Faith Community

Published 05-03-24

Submitted by Quest Diagnostics

Collage of pictures from the Choose Healthy Life event, some featuring a person dressed as Elmo.

At a glance:

  • Quest worked with St. James Health in Newark to provide no-cost Blueprint for Wellness® screenings during a Choose Healthy Life event to celebrate expansion of Newark, NJ-based Metropolitan Baptist Church’s The Willing Heart Community Care Center
  • Willing Heart is a Choose Healthy Life HUB partner supported through a grant from the Quest Diagnostics Foundation as part of the Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE) initiative
  • Q4HE team also arranged a special guest appearance from Elmo thanks to a collaboration with Sesame Workshop

The full story:

Quest Diagnostics provided no-cost Blueprint for Wellness® comprehensive health screenings in collaboration with St. James Health, a community health center focused on providing comprehensive primary health and preventive services in the East, West, and South Wards of Newark, NJ, at a Choose Healthy Life (CHL) event at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark. The effort was part of an ongoing collaboration between Choose Healthy Life and the Quest Diagnostics Foundation as part of its Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE) initiative.

The event celebrated the expansion of the church’s Willing Heart Community Care Center, which is focused on addressing social inequities in healthcare, employment, housing, food disparity, and poverty in Newark and surrounding communities, and the center’s transformation to Willing Heart Family Empowerment Center.

"I’m truly grateful to celebrate such a groundbreaking initiative at Metropolitan Baptist Church. Under the leadership of Pastor, Rev. Dr. David Jefferson Sr. and with the support of our HUB partner, Willing Heart Community Care Center (WHCCC), we are setting a new standard for holistic community care with the new family empowerment center. This center serves as a testament to the power of faith and community collaboration. Metropolitan is the first in the state of New Jersey and the second among Choose Healthy Life churches to have such a center,” said Rev. Kimberly L. Williams, Executive Director, Choose Healthy Life. “I extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who played a part in making this vision a reality. Special gratitude goes to the Quest Diagnostics Foundation for their continued support and donated testing services to address health equity in the communities we serve like Newark through the Quest for Health Equity initiative. Together, we are not just dreaming of a healthier future; we are building it."

As a founding sponsor, the Quest Diagnostics Foundation provided financial support to establish CHL’s church-based community health workforce. This includes support of CHL HUB partners like The Willing Heart.

Quest Diagnostics and the Quest Foundation, through the Q4HE initiative, are building on our initial commitment to CHL through its support of CHL’s Community Wellness Program by offering Blueprint for Wellness®, which provides a clinical set of laboratory tests and measurements completed to highlight personal health strengths and risks that will support underserved communities in taking control of their health.

In total, Quest provided no-cost Blueprint for Wellness® to 51 attendees during a recent celebration of Metropolitan Baptist Church’s expansion in the community, with St. James clinic staff performing specimen collection and taking biometric measurements. The Q4HE team, several Quest regional employees—including phlebotomists Karen Powell and Lisa Lawson, Jill Fannin, key account manager, and Q4HE intern Lizete Negrete volunteered their time to support this important event. Volunteers were also joined by East Region President Ruth Clements. 

“This event embodied our Quest Purpose—working together to create a healthier world, one life at a time—on all fronts,” said Clements. “With Quest as the founding sponsor of the Choose Healthy Life initiative, Pastor Jefferson is realizing his vison to impact the local community of Newark by working together with RJW Barnabas, St. James FQHC, AETNA/CVS, and Quest to realize a new health clinic, daycare and job training center adjacent to his church.”

A special visit from Sesame Workshop

To continue the excitement for the families, the Q4HE team arranged for a special guest appearance—Elmo—thanks to a collaboration with Sesame Workshop. The global impact nonprofit behind Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop is one of the organizations that Q4HE collaborates with across many sectors to drive change and empower better health in underserved communities.

Kids were also treated to “Staying Healthy” children’s books, part of a series developed through Q4HE in collaboration with the Sesame Workshop. The series provides bilingual resources, available in English and Spanish, designed to connect and support parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers as partners in children’s healthcare.

Feedback from Quest volunteers

“The event was a great opportunity to see firsthand how Quest is making a difference—one life at a time,” said Quest volunteer Jill Fannin, Quest Key Account Manager for health care providers. “The collaboration with Sesame Street was the perfect way to engage people of all ages to Choose Healthy Life. The children were excited to receive books, the adults were excited for the opportunity for Blueprint, and everyone wanted a picture, or two, with Elmo.”

“I was proud to see our Quest employees volunteer their time on the weekend to allow the community to get their Blueprint for Wellness and be connected to care,” said Clements. “And Elmo’s appearance through our collaboration with Sesame Workshop was a hit!”

To learn more:

For more about Choose Healthy life, visit

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Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics empowers people to take action to improve health outcomes. Derived from the world's largest database of clinical lab results, our diagnostic insights reveal new avenues to identify and treat disease, inspire healthy behaviors and improve health care management. Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States, and our nearly 50,000 employees understand that, in the right hands and with the right context, our diagnostic insights can inspire actions that transform lives. 

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