December 1, 2015                                                                                                                        

New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians Expands Quality Improvement Services with New Personnel Appointments

Trenton, N.J. – The New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians (NJAFP), the largest primary care medical specialty society in the state, has announced the appointment of three new employees to enhance its existing healthcare transformation and quality improvement (QI) services. Angie Halaja-Henriques, Suzanne Hockenberry and Kris Samara will support NJAFP in the organization’s expansion to a regional healthcare transformation organization, working to improve healthcare quality and patient care while reducing costs. 

Established in 1949, NJAFP has a long history in providing expert services for practices including: practice transformation, patient centered medical home (PCMH) recognition, continuing medical education (CME), quality improvement (QI) initiatives, leadership and staff training and workforce redesign. Its healthcare transformation team has supported several hundred practices and more than 1,000 physicians both locally and nationally to achieve healthcare transformation goals by working with practices to effectively determine how likely, or ready, a practice is to absorb a major change; identify and address early challenges with leadership or staff; determine the level of support needed for transformation; and provide support to assist practices in meeting goals.

“Angie, Suzanne and Kris  bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to NJAFP, giving us the ability to expand our quality improvement services beyond the borders of New Jersey and develop regional quality improvement programs that can truly bring about meaningful change,” said Raymond J. Saputelli, executive vice president, NJAFP. “Their individual strengths and expertise will have a positive impact on our organization, and I am thrilled to welcome them to the NJAFP.”

Angie Halaja-Henriques will serve as a program director, responsible for overseeing the NJAFP’s quality improvement, public health and continuing education programs. Prior to joining the NJAFP, she worked for the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP) for more than 15 years. Halaja-Henriques has extensive experience in a variety of roles, including communications and grant writing. She works with various stakeholders that are key to family medicine, including government, community organizations, medical professional societies and pharmaceutical companies. She is a member of the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions and has been published in the Almanac. Halaja-Henriques earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  

Suzanne Hockenberry will serve as a healthcare transformation specialist, responsible for facilitating practice transformation efforts in primary care practices through education, work flow changes, best practices, and documentation development. Hockenberry has more than eight years of experience in healthcare transformation and has worked for the Academy of Family Physicians since 2013, first in Pennsylvania and now New Jersey. Her experience includes hands-on facilitation of work flow redesign and the implementation of electronic health records, as well as supporting practices in Meaningful Use and Patient Centered Medical Home recognition. Hockenberry is a National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) PCMH-Certified Content Expert. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biobehavioral health from the Pennsylvania State University. She resides in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Kris Samara joins the NJAFP as a program director, responsible for overseeing NJAFP’s quality improvement, public health and continuing education programs.  A veteran of the healthcare industry, Samara has more than 24 years of healthcare experience in provider education, recruitment and credentialing. She has worked with the Academy of Family Physicians since 2011, and will be joining the NJAFP after a four-year tenure with PAFP. While at PAFP, she served in a number of positions, including director of the QI collaborative and project director for the colorectal cancer screening collaborative, during which she worked closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to improve screening rates in Pennsylvania through provider education. Samara attended Elizabethtown College. She resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.